Reflections of Fitzgeralds – Literature Essay
F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of the greatest American writers of all time. He best represented the “roaring twenties.” Upon dropping out of college, he told his best friend Edmund Wilson “I want to be one of the greatest
writers, who have ever lived, don’t you?” Today, most of high school and college-level American literature courses require at least one of his works (F(rancis)). During his time period, he was portrayed as flaming youth of the Jazz Age, but not as one of the America’s most important writers (F(rancis)). The Great Gatsby is considered as one of his greatest literary works. It is a story of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy and well-to-do businessman, who lives in disillusion of recreating the past by means of money and wealth. He tries in vain to make Daisy Buchanan to fall in love with him once again. He is very unsuccessful in doing so and it ultimately brings his own death. Jay Gatsby is very similar to F. Scott himself. He is wealthy, always wanted to be at top of the social ladder, and wanted a girl who he knew he could not have. Daisy Buchanan is very much like F. Scott’s own life, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. They were both materialistic and only sought wealth in men. They were both very flirtatious with men. F. Scott Fitzgerald portrayed lives of himself and his wife Zelda, in one of his greatest work, The Great Gatsby.
Jay Gatsby was born in a poor family in The Great Gatsby. He couldn’t pay his way through the college and had to take degrading janitorial job in order to get college education. Being a headstrong and proud person he was, he refused to do so and ultimately dropped out of the college (Fitzgerald 105). F. Scott Fitzgerald himself did not complete his college education. He was admitted to Princeton, one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Being too zealous about his passion for writing, Fitzgerald neglected his studies. He was placed on academic probation in 1917. He dropped out of Princeton, finally realizing that he will not be able to graduate (F. Scott Fitzgerald). After dropping out of college, Jay Gatsby joined the army during the World War I. He started as first lieutenant, but because of his bravery in Argonne Forest battle, he was advanced major and received decorations from every allied nation (Fitzgerald 70). He was awarded with a medal from Montenegro, which was “For Valour Extraordinary” (Fitzgerald 71). Upon dropping out of Princeton, Fitzgerald sought other chances in his life by applying for a U.S. Army commission. In October 1917, he was appointed second lieutenant (Gale, “F. Scott”). But unlike Jay Gatsby, he never really saw much action in the army and stayed in America until the war was over (Gale, “F. Scott”). They both fell in love with girls who were “out of their league.” Jay Gatsby fell in love with Daisy when he had nothing. “… he was at present a penniless young man without a past, and at any moment the invisible cloak of his uniform might slip from his shoulder” (Fitzgerald 156). In a similar way, F. Scoot Fitzgerald fell in love with Ginerva King. He was flatly rejected because he was poor and had nothing to support her extravagant life style. “I can’t be shut away from the trees and the flowers, cooped up in a little flat, waiting for you. I don’t want to think about pots and kitchens and brooms. I want to worry whether my legs will get slick and brown when I swim in the summer” (Concise Dictionary, “F. Scoot”). Jay Gatsby, the main character of The Great Gatsby was a self-portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was a wild figure, who symbolized the new “flappers,” or very liberal women of the “roaring twenties.” She was very much like Daisy Buchanan of The Great Gatsby.” They were both very liberal and sought many men for their entertainment. Both of them were not very loyal to their men. “Through this twilight universe Daisy began to move again with season; suddenly she was again keeping half a dozen dates a day with half a dozen men and drowsing asleep at dawn with the beads and chiffon of an evening dress…” (Fitzgerald 158). They were also very superficial and materialistic. While Jay Gatsby was away in Europe, Daisy broke away from him and married Tom Buchanan who was very wealthy while Gatsby was penniless in the army. “There was a wholesome bulkiness about his person and his position and Daisy was flattered” (Fitzgerald 159). Zelda was also very materialistic and believed that she can only marry a wealthy man in order to keep herself happy. When F. Scott’s first novel was rejected by Scribner’s, Zelda broke off their engagement (St. James, “F. Scott”). She believed that F. Scott will never be able to support her and satisfy with wealth. She only decided to marry him after he becomes famous and a big public figure. After This Side of Paradise was published and became immediate hit, Fitzgerald became famous as the voice of his generation almost instantaneously. A week later the book was published, Zelda and F. Scott got married (St. James, “F. Scott”).
F. Scott Fitzgerald was the voice of his generation. During his lifetime, he was noticed by people through his publicity and popularity. But now, he is regarded as one of the most influential American writer in history. The Great Gatsby, which is usually regarded as one of his greatest works, incorporates life of his own and his wife Zelda in to the plot. Jay Gatsby was very similar to F. Scott Fitzgerald because they both dropped out of college and took their chances in the army. They also became wealthy in order to marry girls they loved, who were both very materialistic and superficial. Zelda Sayre was very similar to Daisy Buchanan because they were both very liberal and flirtatious. Also, they were only looking for wealth in men to satisfy them. F. Scott Fitzgerald was very successful in incorporating the true stories of himself and his wife into The Great Gatsby.