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Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Life and works
• Born in 1896 in Minnesota. Studied b a Catholic school in New Jersey. In 1913 went to Princeton where he associate with riche young man and he began to write.
• during First World War he joined the army and began to work to his first novel published in 1920. This Side of Paradise. The book gave a picture of lifestyle of young people in “ roaring twenties” and captured the sense of loss and emptiness hiding behind the cult of money and materialism.
• 1921 married Zelda Sayre , they settled in New York and had a glamorous lifestyle with parties, alcohol, drugs. He had to work a lot for their lifestyle.
• 1921: Tales of the Jazz, The beautiful and Damned : he portrayed the corruption and loss of ideals f the “ lost generation”
• in these years he went to Paris and French Riviera where he finished The Great Gatsby , published in 1925 but wasn’t a commercial success and marked the beginning of his popularity’s decline.
• Back to USA wrote film script to pay his debts . he was an alcoholic and his wife suffered of mental instability
• 1934: Tender is the Night : he dealt with the failure of the dreams and ideals in the twenties. Book was coolly received
• 1939 began The Last Tycoon but he didn’t finished it because of an heart attack.
The Great Gatsby
Protagonist: James Gatz from a humble Mid-western family. He makes every effort to rise above poverty and changes his name in Jay Gatsby . While in the army he fall in love with Daisy a beautiful but superficial rich girl who , even if returned Jay’s love, married Tom Buchanan, a wealthy , brutal man. Later Gatsby makes a fortune and he rents a magnificent mansion on the Long Island’s shore on the opposite side of the bay of Daisy’s house. He gave magnificent party in the hope to see her . Nick Carraway is Gatsby’s neighbor and Daisy’s cousin and thank to him Daisy meets Gatsby and they have an affair. One day Daisy had a fight with his husband and while driving back to Gatsby she runs overs Myrtle Wilson ( Tom’s mistress ) . She doesn’t stop and Gatsby hide the car . Myrtle’s husband finds out that the car was Gatsby’s and Gatsby doesn’t protest his innocence because he want to protect Daisy but she deserts him and reconciles with her husband. Myrtle’s husband kill Gatsby and only Nick tried to defend his name and arranges his funeral while no one comes.
The decay f the American dream:
• Grat Gatsby contains many illuminations and criticism of American Life in the “ Jazz Age “ .
• Ameircanness of the novel emphasized by themes like:
- the move from West to Est
- the confrontation between romantic ideals of courage, beauty, honour and the corrupted world of money
- tremendous growth of car industry
- corrupting effects of Prohibitionism
- poverty of spiritual life in America during its most hedonistic decade
• Blindness is another central theme: the characters do not wish to see , they all remain blind to danger so caught up they are with the selfish pursuit of pleasure . Only Nick sees.
• Nick is Fitzgerald’s spokesman in his representation of the decay of his generation
Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway
Gatsby:- is a mysterious character. Rich and attractive , with some secrets hidden in his past, he has the stature of romantic hero who dies for his dream, he also embody the self-made man who tries to recreate past through the power of money and is finally destroyed. Fitzgerald try to show that American dream is has been corrupted by the desire for materialism . Gatsby had a pure dream but became corrupted while realizing his dream.
Nick: is observer and participant at the same time. Is the only character who show and hold a sense of morals and decency. He represents the outsider that Fitzgerald feels himself to be. Fitzgerald and Nick both found themselves surrounded by high society and they don’t fit that kind of society. Nick is linked to he theme of moving from West to Est . He returns to West by the end of the novel . Through nick the author shows that he sees west like a moral land
Retrospective narration :
• All the fact are presented from Nick’s point of view. He’s a retrospective narrator who after going through experience , look back on it with a better understanding.
• The author use the fragmentation of time and frequent flashbacks to represent the inner world of the characters
• Gatsby’s personality is developed through implication in the footsteps f Nick’s own experience
• Style: frequent appeals to the senses by the use of colours, and poetic devices like repetition, simile and metaphor. Language blend realism and symbolism
• Description of society of the Jazz Age is extremely detailed and scattered with symbolic images
• The description of the “ the valley of ashes” is the most impressive. It stands for the emotional and spiritual sterility which is a counterpart to the brought lights of the modern metropolis
• Gatsby’s house is real but also symbolic: it celebrates Gatsby luck during the parties but embodies his melancholy and loneliness went its empty.