Essay: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24th 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was an American author of novels and short stories. He is seen as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night. The Great Gatsby is the most famous one. It has been the basis for numerous films of the same name. These film adaptations were made in 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000 and 2013. He had started writing a fifth novel, called The Love of the Last Tycoon, but never finished it. After his death, the novel got published. Throughout his life, Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories. One of his short stories, The Curious Case of Benjamin button, was the basis for a movie made in 2008. Recurring themes were youth and promise, along with age and despair.
In his childhood years, Fitzgerald was bright, handsome and ambitious. He was the pride and joy of his parents. He attended the St. Paul Academy and got his first piece of writing appear in print when he was only 13. It was a detective story, published in the school newspaper. When he was 15 years old, he got sent to Newman School, a prestigious Catholic preparatory school in New Jersey. This is where he met Father Sigourney Fay, who noticed how talented Fitzgerald was with words. He encouraged him to pursue his literary ambitions.
After graduation, he attended Princeton University, where he dedicated himself to writing musical scripts as well as articles and stories for multiple magazines. It got to the point where his writing came at the expense of his coursework, causing him to be put on academic probation. A few years later, in 1917, he dropped out of school to join the US Army. Before reporting to duty, he hastily wrote a novel called The Romantic Egotist, which was rejected by the publisher. Fitzgerald was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama. There, he met an 18-year-old girl named Zelda Sayre, whom he fell in love with. She was the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. When the war was over, Fitzgerald moved to New York City hoping to launch a career in advertising lucrative enough to convince Zelda to marry him. After only a few months however, he quit his job and returned to St. Paul to rewrite his novel, now called This Side of Paradise. The novel was published in 1920 and got excellent reviews, turning the 24-year-old Fitzgerald into one of America’s most promising young writers. One week after the publication, Zelda and him got married in New York. They had one daughter together, named Frances Scott Fitzgerald, who was born in 1921.
Fitzgerald embraced his celebrity status and chose an extravagant lifestyle, resulting in him having a reputation as a playboy and hindering his reputation as a serious literary writer. Two years after the publication of This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald published his second novel, called The Beautiful and the Damned.
In 1924, he decided to leave the US and moved to Valescure, in France. This is where Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby, his greatest novel. The Great Gatsby was published in 1925 and well-received by the press, although it was not until the 1950s that it achieved its status of one of the greatest American novels ever written.
After the publication of The Great Gatsby, he started drinking alcohol more than ever and suffered long episodes of writer’s block. At the same time, his wife also suffered from mental health issues.
Finally, in 1934, Fitzgerald published his fourth and final finished novel, Tender is the Night. After this, he tried to revive his career as a screenwriter and freelance storywriter in Hollywood. He then began working on another novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, but died in the process, leaving half a manuscript behind. Fitzgerald was 44 years old when he died of a heart attack on December 21st, 1940, in Hollywood.

Sources:
Biography.com
Wikipedia.com

Synopsis of the plot

During the summer of 1922, Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate and war veteran, moves to New York. He gets settled in a posh district on Long Island, near his cousin Daisy and her spouse, Tom Buchanan. Nick’s attention is drawn towards his eccentric and extremely wealthy neighbour, Jay Gatsby. Nick has noticed that, at night, some man often goes to the beach near his house, and looks at a green light appearing from Daisy’s house. Nick presumes the silhouette belongs to this man, Jay Gatsby.
After meeting Tom Buchanan’s mistress, Nick gets invited to one of Gatsby’s legendary parties, where he ends up meeting Gatsby himself. From that moment on, Carraway and Gatsby spend a lot of time together.

Source: Essay UK - http://xbmm43.com/essays/english-literature/essay-the-great-gatsby-by-f-scott-fitzgerald/


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