Essay On Connection Of Fitzgerald's Life To The Great Gatsby - NIL - Essay

1281 words - 6 pages

“I disavow any essential connection between my life and what I write.” Is this a credible view for
writers of literature you have studied?
Writers of literature often integrate personal real-life experiences into their literary work, which
lends their narrative perspective depth. Besides adding realism and believability, having fictional
plot elements written along the lines of real-life events allows readers to relate to the protagonist’s
– and ultimately – the writer’s life. The events F Scott Fitzgerald’s Great American Novel The
Great Gatsby parallels his life in many ways, and as a social commentary it discusses the many
issues which plagued 1920s America. Hence, the aforementioned view is not credible in the case
of Fitzgerald’s novel.
One of the fundamental connections between the novel and Fitzgerald’s life that the reader is first
exposed to is the setting of the novel. The location of the novel in New York was inspired by Long
Island, where Fitzgerald resided while writing. It is also set in the 1920s, which was a crucial point
in time in American society and a time which Fitzgerald’s lived through. The 1920s, also known
as The Roaring Twenties, was a rowdy period in post-war America, as it saw the rise of decadence
and vice. The indulgence that pervaded this era is encapsulated through the descriptions of
Gatsby’s lavish parties, which had “buffet tables” that were “garnished with spiced baked hams”
and “pastry hams”. The heavy drinking culture was also shown through the bar stocked with “gins
and liquors” and cordials. Fitzgerald, in addition to attending many of these parties himself,
revealed how America’s post-World War I coping mechanism was resorting to drinking and
extreme partying. This extravagance was partially expedited by the rise of a new class as well,
where a generation of hardworking Americans were able to ascend the socio-economic ladder to
achieve riches, known as the nouveau riche, and thus could afford to splurge on luxuries without
The Great Gatsby’s setting in the 1920s also allowed the social divide witnessed by Fitzgerald to
be depicted. 1920s American social classes could be categorised into 3 levels, the established
rich (represented by Tom Buchanan and Daisy), the nouveau riche (represented by Gatsby) and
the poor (represented by Mr and Mrs Wilson). Knowing this, Fitzgerald used the 3 different
locations which the novel was set in, namely East Egg, West Egg and the Valley of Ashes to
symbolise the three different types of wealth. It is apparent that while both Eggs are home to the
rich of New York, however, East Egg is home to the “old money” where wealth was accumulated
through inheritance, appears to be elegant and sophisticated with “white palaces”, which are old
and classic European homes – a testament to the established wealth of its inhabitants. West Egg,
on the other hand, is where the “new money” live, people who generally acquired their wealth
within their generation through hard work....

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