Gatsby As A Mirrors Of His Creator F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Life

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an American classic that was produced in 1925. The novel is infamous for its outspokenness that condemns the excess of wealth, and the delusional American Dream that loomed over the roaring twenties. However; if a reader is to dig deeper and pick apart the characters. They would find that the fictional character of Jay Gatsby holds many similarities to his creator, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Much of Fitzgerald’s soul lies with Gatsby as each of them goes on their own odyssey to seek the American Dream, but in the end both fail because they both seek physical gain and social positioning at the expense of their own character and morals.

Whether by intention or not, an author will always bring their own experiences in life into their book. The first striking similarity between Fitzgerald and Gatsby is both of their experiences in college, Fitzgerald went to Princeton in 1915 but dropped out to poor health and failing grades. He would return in 1916 but again would fall short due to poor performance, he would enlist in the army the following year. Jay Gatsby similarly falters as told to the reader by one of Gatsby’s friends “An Instinct toward his future glory had led him, some months before, to the small Lutheran college St. Olaf in southern Minnesota. He stayed there for two weeks” (Fitzgerald, 1925, p. 99). The quote shows Gatsby’s struggle before he finally succumbs and leaves the school. Both Fitzgerald and Gatsby struggle through their short time at University, due to a combination of ethics, Finances, and Health.

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Another striking comparison between both men is that they both joined the armed forces and met the love of their lives because of it. Fitzgerald was stationed at Camp Sheridan near Montgomery, Alabama. He would fall madly in love with a woman named Zelda Sayre who at the time was an 18-year-old with a southern aristocratic background. The two were set to be married until Zelda broke off the marriage because of Fitzgerald’s monetary state. This experience no doubt translates to Gatsby’s meet-up with Daisy. In Chapter Eight it states that “He went to her house, at first with other officers from Camp Taylor, then alone eventually he took Daisy one still October night, took her because he had no right to touch her hand. He might have despised himself, for he had certainly taken her under false pretenses” (Fitzgerald, 1925, p. 148). This quote shows that Gatsby had taken Daisy under the false pretense that he was wealthy, in the same way, that Fitzgerald had taken Zelda. Both men would find the love of their lives but neither would ever feel worthy of their partners’ love.

Both Fitzgerald and Gatsby went to great lengths to inspire their lovers when in the end it remains futile and they both lose them. Both men sought to win their significant others’ love with lavish and exotic lives. However, both romances were Shakespeare in that they were doomed to fail. Zelda succumbs to her mental illness and Daisy runs away with Tom in the end. When Fitzgerald earned celebrity standing from his books, he would adopt a lavish lifestyle fitting for any rich man during the roaring twenties; similarly; Gatsby lived in a large mansion, where he would throw exotic parties and attempt to lure the rich and famous. Both men because obsessed with their gilded and decadent lives, and their lives would crumble and it seems fitting that Fitzgerald’s tombstone bears the final lines of his novel The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald, 1925 p. 193) “so we beat on, boats against the current borne back ceaselessly to the past”.

Jay Gatsby mirrors his creator F Scott Fitzgerald’s Life both men would be born in the frigid north of the United States, have the same experiences in college and both would falter during their education. Both men would fight during World War One and meet the love of their lives because of it. And both would lose their lover in the end. Fitzgerald uses his novel to memoir and accounts his life through someone else’s lens. Which makes the novel all more haunting and beautiful.


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