The Great Gatsby

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald In 1925 a young author whose third book was hailed for its success and his artistic capabilities wrote one of the most prominent books of the century, The Great Gatsby. The 1920's were filled with many cultural and lifestyle conflicts', thus giving the 1920's the title "The Cultural and Lifestyle Revolution." The Great Gatsby was written to show the rise and fall of the "Man behind the Mask," Jay Gatsby.

Born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Francis Scott Fitzgerald was born to his father, Edward Fitzgerald, who worked for Proctor and Gamble. Scott spent his younger part of his childhood in the corrupt city of New York. His first novel, This Side of Paradise, astounded the public because of his age, and therefore, was accepted as a great author in the public's eyes. He got the idea for his first book when he dropped out of college so he could volunteer to drive an ambulance for the Army during World War I.

Jay Gatsby, the main character, is trying to achieve the American dream, of self made wealth and happiness. In trying to achieve the American dream the author is trying to reveal what Jay Gatsby is really like or who the "Man behind the mask" is. Beside all the fame and glory, Jay Gatsby is having a problem with drinking, which affected his writing; nothing he wrote after that ever lived up to the standards of The Great Gatsby.

"F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby in the form of a satire, a criticism of society's foibles through humor." p. 73 In the book, the East is the pure and idealistic part of America. The West on the other hand is the corrupt and materialistic section of America. In 1929 the Stock Market crashed, ending the Jazz Age. During the Jazz Age, the police took bribes from operators who were into bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling. Tammany Hall, who was Irish, was controlling New York.

Ernest Hemingway and H. L. Mencken praised the writer even though they were harsh critics. William Rose Benet said "The Great Gatsby revealed matured craftsmanship." p. 76 The Great Gatsby has been critiqued and analyzed by many writers since it has been published. The same opinion has emerged almost every time it has been read. This is a fantastic story line with the realistic feel that the readers know what Jay Gatsby went through.