gatdream F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby

Free Essay Database Online

gatdream F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby

– Dreaming the Impossible Dream Great Gatsby EssaysDreaming The Impossible Dream:
An autobiographical portrayal of F. Scott Fitzgerald as Jay Gatsby, in The
Great Gatsby
Frances Scott Key Fitzgerald, born September 24, 1896 in St. Paul,
Minnesota, is seen today as one of the true great American novelists.
Although he lived a life filled with alcoholism, despair, and lost-love, he
managed to create the ultimate love story and seemed to pinpoint the
American Dream in his classic novel, The Great Gatsby. In the novel, Jay
Gatsby is the epitome of the self-made man, in which he dedicates his
entire life to climbing the social ladder in order to gain wealth, to
ultimately win the love of a woman: something that proves to be
unattainable. As it turns out, Gatsbys excessive extravagance and love of
money, mixed with his obsession for a womans love, is actually the
autobiographical portrayal of Fitzgerald.

While attending Princeton University, Fitzgerald struggled immensely with
his grades and spent most of his time catering to his social needs. He
became quite involved with the Princeton Triangle Club, an undergraduate
club which wrote and produced a lively musical comedy each fall, and
performed it during the Christmas vacation in a dozen major cities across
the country. Fitzgerald was also elected to Cottage, which was one of the
big four clubs at Princeton. Its lavish weekend parties in impressive
surroundings, which attracted girls from New York, Philadelphia and beyond,
may well have provided the first grain of inspiration for Fitzgeralds
portrayal of Jay Gatsbys fabulous parties on Long Island (Meyers, 27).

Although Fitzgerald was a social butterfly while at Princeton, he never
had any girlfriends. However, at a Christmas dance in St. Paul, MN during
his sophomore year, he met Ginevra King, a sophisticated sixteen-year-old
who was visiting her roommate, and immediately fell in love with her.
Although Scott loved Ginevra to the point of infatuation, she was too
self-absorbed to notice. Their one-sided romance persisted for the next two
years. Fitzgerald would send hundreds of letters, but Ginevra, who thought
them to be clever but unimportant, destroyed them in 1917. The following
year, Ginevra sent Scott a letter that announced her marriage to a naval
ensign. Just before Fitzgerald was to meet with Ginevra after a twenty-year
absence,
2
he proclaimed to his daughter, with mixed feelings of regret and nostalgia:
She was the first girl I ever loved and have faithfully avoided seeing her
up to this moment to keep the illusion perfect, because she ended up by
throwing me over with the most supreme boredom and indifference (Meyers,
30). Although heartbroken at the time, Fitzgerald answered Yeats crucial
question– Does the imagination dwell the most / Upon a woman lost or a
woman won? — by using his lost love as imaginative inspiration. For in
his 1925 masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, he recreated the elusive,
unattainable Ginevra as the beautiful and elegant Daisy Fay Buchanan.

Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald described Daisy as an almost disembodied
voice which, Gatsby realized at the end, was full of money. Fitzgerald
wrote, her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes
and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that
men who had cared for her found difficult to forget (Fitzgerald, 14). It
should be noted that, Gatsbys ability, like Fitzgeralds, to keep that
illusion perfect sustains his self-deceptive and ultimately
self-destructive quest, with the help of his own fabulous money, to win
Daisy back from her husband (Meyers, 30).

Although Ginevra King was Fitzgeralds first true love, she certainly was
not his last. In July 1918, while stationed in Montgomery, Alabama with the
military, Scott met a gracious, soft-voiced girl named Zelda Sayre at a
country club dance. Scott recalled that night that, she let her long hair
hang down loose and wore a frilly dress that made her look younger than
eighteen. She came from a prominent though not wealthy family and had just
graduated from Sidney Lanier High School (Meyers, 42).

Despite Zeldas striking beauty and strong personality, she had numerous
flaws that were impossible to hide. She was often rude, selfish, sexually
promiscuous, and