Influences on F. Scott Fitzgeralds' writing in The Great Gatsby

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 5 (1668 words) Published: March 21, 2004
The Roaring Twenties was a period of frivolous days and exciting nights. Times were prosperous and life was good for most. In The Great Gatsby, published in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald writes about the fictitious life of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire (Gross 1). The setting of the novel is New York in the twenties, a time, and place, where people were jovial and carefree. In New York, more than anywhere, people did not worry about life's downs, but focused on the highlife and partying. Prohibition made partying difficult, but it prevailed nonetheless. In the novel, Fitzgerald's description of humans was of an appalling nature. He shows them as careless, greedy, and inconsiderate; much like they truly were in this decade. Inevitably he would become involved in some type of lackadaisical ways. Fitzgerald's writing's were significantly influenced by these surroundings. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing was profoundly influenced by events in his life, the exciting times he lived in, and the people he knew.

Born on September 24, 1986 to a wealthy merchant family, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald showed signs of an exemplary writing ability (Dyson, 1380). As a small boy, Fitzgerald began writing down his thoughts and ideas. He frequently wrote about his life.

While in school, Fitzgerald was very self-criticizing and did not have many friends. He was not very popular at school, although he greatly wanted to be. Just like Fitzgerald, Gatsby did not like who he was, so he decided to change himself. In the novel, Gatsby has a list of things he wants to change about himself. He called them his 'General Resolves' and they were: No wasting time at Shafters, no more smoking or chewing, bath every other day, read one improving book or magazine per week, save $3.00 per week, and be better to his parents (Fitzgerald 182). As Fitzgerald grew, so did his attitude towards life. He kept writing. Fitzgerald attended Princeton, but quit shortly after he began (Young Adult Authors 58). Fitzgerald, like Gatsby, wanted to live and adventure. Soon after the war started, Fitzgerald signed up hoping to have the adventure of his life. He only got as far as the coastline. Fitzgerald, unlike Gatsby was not sent to the war, so he married Zelda Sayre (Hickey 345). In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby lost his love because he had to fight in the war. Fitzgerald was writing in comparison to his own life, or what might have been if he had been sent off to fight in the war. Since Fitzgerald was not sent to war, and he had to make a living somehow, he began writing for small papers. He and Zelda settled down and had children. His life was now beginning to feel right. In 1922, Fitzgerald came upon the idea for The Great Gatsby. Shortly after his arrival in France, Fitzgerald completed the most brilliant novel he would ever write. Richard Lehan said, "Fitzgerald was in position to write a master work like The Great Gatsby - everything in his life had been building toward this moment" (Lehan 2). Fitzgerald's life, like Gatsby's, had become a series of exciting parties and rich lifestyles. Barry Gross described Fitzgerald's life like this:

Fitzgerald was conscious about his social position because his parents had a hard time coming up with money for support. He was always trying to impress people by his estate. His parents were not that wealthy either, so he took his own route to achieve happiness. (Gross 18)

In the 1920's, the paparazzi were aware of his eccentric lifestyle. Gatsby's life was just as daring and glamorous as his. Fitzgerald did some illegal activities such as drinking, and forging bonds. Gatsby was also involved in bond forgery and prohibition rebellions. For Fitzgerald, life was better than it had ever been, but to his great dismay it would not last. The key reality in his life was that between his twenty-eighth and thirty-fourth year, he wasn't able to write a new novel. Fitzgerald began drinking and stopped writing. His wife...
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