At the time of his death, Fitzgerald was considered as a failed literary hope, a writer victimized by his own indulgences. But since 1940s his literary reputation has steadily risen. Today he is judged to be one of the major American prose writers of this century. In a number of his short stories, and in his finest novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald had revealed the stridency of an age of glittering innocence. In vivid and graceful prose he had, at the same time, described the emptiness and nothingness of American worship of wealth and the unending American dream of love, splendor, and fulfilled desires.
This paper focuses on the study of the similarities between Fitzgerald and Gatsby on the basis of the novel, The Great Gatsby, which consists of several parts as follows:
the first part gives the brief introduction, in which the early days of Fitzgerald and the appearance of Gatsby are introduced. From the ways Fitzgerald used to get the success and the classic posture Gatsby owned in the darkness, we get to know that they are waiting for something which is the symbol of the wealth and the social position.
The second part focuses on the detailed analysis of the similarities between Fitzgerald and Gatsby, which includes their occupation, the way they pursue their top girl, the ways they love and cherish their top girl, and the way to face the cruel and false society, from the analysis we learn that both of them possess an enthusiastic illusion for romantic love with innocence and naiveness.
The last parts makes a conclusion of the paper based on the elementary analysis of the novel, and, in that way, we get to know the idea of the paper that the character of the novel-Gatsby is the embodiment of the author-Fitzgerald.
Since 1940s , the novel The Great Gatsby and the author Fitzgerald have become the focus of the writers and critics, and they paid much attention to them separately, and however, few of them researched the novel and the author together. What”s more, few of people studied the author from the perspective of the main characters of the novel, especially from the perspective of the character of Gatsby, for this, the aim of this paper is to prove: the main character of the novel, Gatsby, is the copy of the author, by comparing the similarities and the differences between Gatsby and Fitzgerald.
This novel is a summary of the "roaring twenties" , and a devastating exposition of the "Jazz Age" . Through the narration of Nick Caraway, it explores the superficially glittering world of mansions on the Long Island shore, and his encounter with Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.
The novel's main themes are: the problem of wealth and the problem of love, say ,the way of dealing with the true love and the love in the allusion which has always confused the youth. In the novel, these problems are along with the process of the development of the plot the author designed. In the novel, Fitzgerald's preoccupation with the money, and the dreams, the magical expectations, the carelessness, the ideals, and the illusions which create and created by wealth were certainly a very personal matter for him as an individual. While what he got: the delicate, lovely, and essentially parasitic woman whose love, loyalty had to be acquired by the success and protected by the continued achievement, in some way, love itself really like one kind of stock investment which depends upon the permanent investment of emotional funds.
Furthermore, the eternal theme of the novel even all the novels--love. This also was not a exception, the real life's copy, nay, the love-affair between the author and the so-called golden girl Zelda completely occurred in the novel with another name: The so-called great Gatsby and the vast, vulgar, meretricious beauty-Daisy whose voices are always full of money, and this theme occurred in every corner of the novel. And we learn from the novel that the whole idea is the unfairness of a poor man cannot able to marry the woman he loved without money.
Ⅰ.The Family and Social Background of Fitzgerald
From the novel we”ve learnt that the family and the social background have played important parts in the character development of Fitzgerald since his school times which determine his later development. It can also be learnt that the family background, especially his father affects his development; in the meantime the social background have constituted the exterior factors in stimulating his pursuit of American Dream.
A. The Family Background of Fitzgerald
The dominant influences on F. Scott Fitzgerald were aspiration, literature, Princeton, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, and alcohol.
Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Fitzgerald is regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th Century. The self-styled spokesman of the "Lost Generation" -- the Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I -- crafted five novels and dozens of short stories that treat themes of youth, despair, and age with remarkable emotional honesty. His heroes -- handsome, confident, and doomed -- blaze brilliantly before exploding ("Show me a hero," he once said, "and I will write you a tragedy"), (John W. Bicknell, 1969: 36 )and his heroines are beautiful and intricate.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896, the namesake and second cousin three times removed of the author of the National Anthem. Fitzgerald's given names indicate his parents' pride in his father's ancestry. His father, Edward, was from Maryland, with an allegiance to the Old South and its values. Fitzgerald's mother, Mary (Mollie) McQuillan, was the daughter of an Irish immigrant who became wealthy as a wholesale grocer in St. Paul. Both were Catholics.
At the same time, Fitzgerald, to be a nobleman as a writer at that time, he didn”t show any discrimination to Gatsby, as a bootlegger, it showed that he had received the idea: you could get the success with the way you think it suitable for you. That way of thought showed that the traditional American morality also is his feature as Nick held. The narrator of the novel, Nick, represents the traditional moral standard of America. Nick, who was attracted by the beauty, the wealth, and the earthy life style of “the waste land”, however, he gradually comes to understand the true aspect of the waste land: essential emptiness, the gaudy display of nothingness
“During 1911-1913 he attended the Newman School, a Catholic prep school in New Jersey, where he met Father Sigourney Fay, who encouraged his ambitions for personal distinction and achievement. As a member of the Princeton Class of 1917, Fitzgerald neglected his studies for his literary apprenticeship. He wrote the scripts and lyrics for the Princeton Triangle Club musicals and was a contributor to the Princeton Tiger humor magazine and the Nassau Literary Magazine. His college friends included Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop. On academic probation and unlikely to graduate, Fitzgerald joined the army in 1917 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry. Convinced that he would die in the war, he rapidly wrote a novel, "The Romantic Egotist"; the letter of rejection from Charles Scribner's Sons praised the novel's originality and asked that it be resubmitted when revised. “(John W. Bicknell, 1969:10)
B. The Social Background of Fitzgerald
In June 1918 Fitzgerald was assigned to Camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama. There he fell in love with a celebrated belle, eighteen-year-old Zelda Sayre, the youngest daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. The romance intensified Fitzgerald's hopes for the success of his novel, but after revision it was rejected by Scribner”s for a second time. The war ended just before he was to be sent overseas; after his discharge in 1919 he went to New York City to seek his fortune in order to marry. Unwilling to wait while Fitzgerald succeeded in the advertisement business and unwilling to live on his small salary, Zelda broke their engagement.
And in the mind of Fitzgerald, he also appreciates the cool girl like Jordan, just Nick falls in love with Jordan at first sight. Jordan, a lovely girl, like Daisy, who dresses in white and always seems to be cool. And at the same time, she has her own way to catch the opportunities. Unlike Daisy, a delicate, lovely, and essentially parasitic woman, Jordan always looks cool. For that special features the other girls lacked, Nick was absolutely attracted by Jordan at the first sight, however, he broke with her finally because he gets the same ability for irresponsibility and the quite oblivious false that he gets in Daisy and Tom.
Fitzgerald was born in a big city, so he got a name” city boy” of all his life. His family, moreover, was a part of the St. Paul society, and this condition, in some way, largely influenced the direction of his art and the acute sensibility along his growth. And we can say that, in some way, Fitzgerald”s attitudes were formed by the upper-class”s way of dealing the financial and the social status, nay, it was his heritage. What”s more, the theme just like Gatsby makes his famous remark to Nick before they moving to the New York: “her voice is full of money” in the novel The Great Gatsby could easily get the original source, so his own financial attitude decided the basic gist of the novel.
According to the way he used to pursue the girl he loved may concluded that: he has the doubleness in his character. Fitzgerald was the inheritor of tradition which was the financial success was the basic the element in the success of the whole life, and the way to get the success not related to a good citizenship, this, in some way, was the shadow of his upper-class family”s shadow.
On the other hand, he also held that the good business was directly related to the good citizenship and social responsibility, which was indicated that the moral attitude and ethic was the strong base in his heart. Just like Nick, the narrator of the novel, got in the end of the novel, he wishes for a world that would stand on the base of moral responsibility eternally. And that the nostalgia for the world was an important aspect in the novel rather than the real life of the author. In a profound sense, he remained a moral provincialism, which was nostalgia for moral qualities showed in the West, and a scorn of the moral nothingness represented by the East, all of which were formed the dramatic structure of the novel.
Ⅱ.The Early Days of Fitzgerald and the Appearance of Gatsby
The early days of Fitzgerald and Gatsby have many apparent differences; Fitzgerald who was born in a middle-class family, shows great potential to excel as future talents while for Gatsby, owning to his poor family background fails to impress the readers with feeling that he has any potential to become future riches.
A. The Early Days of Fitzgerald
Shortly after the birth of “the city boy”, his family had moved several times, and by that time his parents were past fifty, at the same time, one fact became more and more oblivious that his father”s career had reached a dead end. And before that, his mother had lost her two previous children, all of her attention was paid on the young Scott, through he has a sister, he also has the focus of his parents. Just like Eble remarks: a somewhat pampered and sheltered boy, and lived in an apartment of rented houses, an inheritor of a sense of family superiority without much visible ways to make it in real life.
Even in the early days of his times in the St. Paul Academy, he gradually displayed his affinity for literary expression; he published fiction in the school magazine, and kept copious journals. However, at such a young age, his attitude toward literature was not clear, ambiguous, writing, in some way, it was merely means among many for protecting the social position and the main status, and young Scott also devoted himself with equal passion to the club politics and the sports, and not mention the dancing class, as a means of getting the status he deadly wanted to.B. The Appearance of Gatsby
At the early days, Fitzgerald”s crazy for literature and the every means to get success, in some way, which catch the readers” interesting and it also referred the appearance of the Gatsby will not as common as the dead water, didn”t move any more or didn”t have any high and low peaks. At the first sight, Nick”s first view of Gatsby himself is peculiar one: the latter seems almost to be engaged in some sort of mystic rite, and Nick still on home without speaking to him. To Nick, he thought that Gatsby turns toward the direction of the mansion of Daisy across the bay, where only one mystic green light on the mansion of the Daisy, and the gesture of him just like a worshipper before a shrine. And gradually he vanishes, leaving Nick alone in the completely darkness, and indeed Gatsby is a worshipper before a shrine, and we can get it in the following chapter of the novel. Only to him the shrine or the Goddess is a delicate, lovely, and essentially parasitic woman, Daisy, a vaguely realized image of some so-called beauty which in real life is only an illusion.
The mystic appearance of Gatsby in the novel, in fact, is the real on stage of Fitzgerald, at the same time, his first on the stage of the social stage, full of the same mystic image of Gatsby. We also can guess like that the author also have same gesture of Gatsby, just like standing before a shrine, comparing with Gatsby his shrine or god is the reputation or the continuous success, and the reorganization of his contemporary
Ⅲ.The Golden Age of Fitzgerald and the Prime Time of Gatsby
And just like the saying: believe yourself you will get the thing you wanted realized in the real life. Yes he got the girl he had dreamed for a long time with his great achievement in the literature. For this he almost cost all of his money to have a party in his beautiful mansion which built for his loving girl who was a delicate, lovely, and essentially parasitic woman, only the continuous achievement can satisfy her material demand.
The story of Gatsby and Daisy, indeed, was the copy the author”s life. And the same plot still appeared in the love story of the two main protagonists, for money, for the social position, the two protagonists from lover became the strange. From the above we can get that the two young boys has the same features: naive or innocent, or we can say that they thought that the love is the platonic love they thought in their mind, and in fact, their mind still pure, even when they got the admiring achievement. In other words, they were the out-dated man of their contemporary society, even they have the ability to get the wealth and the social position they want, but they have not the ability to adjust the society and the ability to cope with the problem they met in heir real life.
At the same time, Fitzgerald is a rational people, he has the ability to use his logic way of dealing with the love-affair between the Daisy and himself, however, he didn”t use it in his real life, it just is a ideal existed in his illusion. Or we can say that he did not has the courage to face the reality, and he did not want to throw his delicate, lovely, and essentially parasitic woman, of course he neglect the parasitic aspect, for top girl or the fairy girl.
Ⅳ.The Death of Gatsby and the Down of Fitzgerald
The morning bell is ringing, and it suggests that something will go to the end. In 1940 the second heart-attack killed the Fitzgerald, and left him with the regret that his last novel not finished and his once "top girl" Zelda alone in the world. Meanwhile, with the clear and surprising sound of the gun, the dream of Gatsby awoke, and left him lying in the blood like a flower, and he was abandoned by his beloved girl Daisy.
A. The Death of Gatsby
After a brief and largely uneventful trip to Europe, Fitzgerald and his wife returned to St. Paul, where their daughter was born, and then they returned to New York, entered another round of gay life, and they rented a house in Long Island where provide the setting for The Great Gatsby. And at the same time, the conflict between the Fitzgerald”s own artistic hopes and the deadly need for money to provide the enough material bases for his top girl, Zelda, demanded from a life as a tribute to her existence, and this condition became continued and intensified. And his wife once told Fitzgerald: you want me to work for my cost, and for my dream. This is a strong proof to show that her greedy became more and more bigger, while this very turning point that his creating source is in the dilemma, where he couldn”t more any more in his novels. At the same time, the dream his wife told him is not the dream Zelda wanted, but the dream of his own direction of his life, and his dream with much false glittering light, and covered by the reputation which made himself not clearly about the meaning of his dream.
B. The Down of Fitzgerald
What”s more, with the carnival again and again, and the money get from the artistic creating is not balanced with the large cost for the meeting hold for showing off their wealth, and also not balanced with the greedy of Zelda, the only way to get out of this condition Fitzgerald could use is the alcohol with the helpless tears. Meanwhile the mental breakdown of Zelda is that she wanted to pursue her own fantasies of a career in ballet and as a novelist in her own right, which made Fitzgerald moved closer to the bottle. And in sometime he and the Hemingway became the intimate friends, and at that time he was the famous writer, while Hemingway was the unknown, by the end of the years, their roles reversed, with Hemingway getting on his own stage of literature, which was also gave a big strike on Fitzgerald.
Even much of his time was spent on the Europe with restlessness which itself was born of despair rather than happiness. At the same time, Zelda became increasingly unbalanced, and had one breakdown and he also found that writing became more difficult. Hardly into his thirties, was he convinced that his career was all but finished. Then returned to America and Zelda”s father”s death made her had another breakdown, in some way, this increased the end of Fitzgerald.
The morning bell was ringing, and it showed that something should go to their end.
Ⅴ.The End of the Legend
Bang! Bang! With the two clear and surprising sound of the gun, the dream of Gatsby and Wilson and all the people with the same dream as Gatsby and Wilson awoke.
The dream like the existence of the daughter of Daisy, Pammy, is only a illusion. Indeed, Pammy”s appearance is itself a finely wrought irony. For Daisy”s relationship to the child is not a mother to a daughter, the role of Pammy in Daisy”s life is too obliviously that a daring toy, a toy to be played with, a toy to remove the uneasy feeling, just Daisy cries out to the child ”you are a dream, you!” in the real life for Daisy the child Is indeed a dream, only a tool or a decorative object, and at the same time it is the echo of the emotion of Daisy rather than a existed substance.
At the end of the life of Fitzgerald and the novel, tragedy is the main feature. In 1940 the second of heart-attack killed Fitzgerald, with the regret that his last novel The Last Tycoon not finished, also left his once top girl alone in the world, with the worry that his fairy girl finally went to her end with the fire. The failure of Fitzgerald Is a tragedy made by the society in purpose, however, Fitzgerald drew a portrait of his time and he also provided a historical document for the historic an to study that special times.
Finally Gatsby”s father got a conclusion for the whole life of Gatsby that he indeed is a great man who did so much for his dream, and he got the success he wanted at the end, even the end of the dream is a completely tragedy, however, he did and enjoyed.
In length, The Great Gatsby barely qualifies as a full-sized novel. In subject, it is about an American bootlegger who nourished an adolescent dream about a golden girl he can not have. And until the day break, the pure and naive dream was completely destroyed by the reality. The way of pursuing the girl, the way of getting the success, the way of spending their money, the way of cherishing their girl, and the tragic end they got, all of these showed that Gatsby is the real of Fitzgerald.
The author makes use of the comparative approach to analyze the main character of the paper. Firstly, with the narration and the comparison of the early days of Gatsby and the author, we get to know the idea that money and social position are the most important elements of life. Meanwhile, through the comparison of the different occupations of them, we know that they have many things in common, including the wealth and the social position. And secondly, through the comparison and the narration, analysis of the similarities of Fitzgerald and Gatsby, we gradually get to know that innocence or naiveness is their common ground, and at the same time, their experience in the process of getting their “top girl” also proved it. Then from the achievement they got in their golden age or in their prime time, we have learned that getting success at such young age and getting the heart or the response of their beloved top girls are similarities of that generation. And finally through the comparison of the death of Gatsby and the down of the Fitzgerald, we found that both of them possess an enthusiastic illusion for romantic love. Therefore, comes to the conclusion that the main character of the novel Gatsby is the embodiment of the author, Fitzgerald.
⑤The Lost Generation: is a term used to describe a group of American writers who were rebelling against what America had become by the 1900”s. At this point in time, America had become a great place to, “go into some area of business” (Crunden, 185). However, the Lost Generation writers felt that America was not such a success story because the country was devoid of a cosmopolitan culture. Their solution to this issue was to pack up their bags and travel to Europe”s cosmopolitan cultures, such as Paris and London. Here they expected to find literary freedom and a cosmopolitan way of life
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