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The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald

This research examines similarities between F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, and the lives of the fictional characters. The research will give an account of the pattern of ideas and events in the text and then discuss how Fitzgerald's narrative strategy can be seen to reflect the degree to which his personal and professional experience is collapsed into the action and the behavior of the various characters that enact it.

The action of The Great Gatsby links with real-life persons and events in part because the novel, originally published in 1925, was very much a contemporary work of realism. It would have been unusual not to include reference to Prohibition in 1925 America. There is a view that Fitzgerald also fictionalized other current events. For example, the characters of Myrtle and George Wilson (Tom Buchanan's "underclass paramour" and her husband) and the whole line of action leading up to Gatsby's violent death may be based on a 1922 New York double-murder case in which a lower-class cuckold killed his wife's lover--"a real-life example of the collision between the worlds of the very rich and the woefully impoverished that so fascinated [Fitzgerald]" (34). But The Great Gatsby draws not only on public events but also on details of the author's life and of those closest to him.

The action of the novel concerns the passion of Jay Gatsby--a bootlegger who throws liquor-flowing parties for high society--for Daisy Buchanan, a well-married socialite with whom he fell in love as a World War I soldier. Gatsby's origins eventually prove to be in the Rust Belt Midwest, but he has taken a mansion near the Buchanans on Long Island. Gatsby befriends Daisy's cousin Nick Carraway, his Ivy League-educated neighbor who lives in a modest gatehouse, in order to rekindle the romance. The story unfolds chiefly through Nick's eyes: Daisy becomes involved with Gatsby partly to spite her philandering husband Tom. When Tom's slatt...

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The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:01, March 19, 2019, from