Life Of F Scott Fitzgerald English Literature Essay

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The work of a group of young writers, who entered literature after the WWI and represented complex conditions of postwar development in art, was a controversial and unique phenomenon in an American literature during 20-'s. They particularly worried about a young man's fate in postwar America. They are the representatives of a so-called "lost generation" and their names are Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Dos Passos, and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. They, as the representatives of the older generation of American writers, are critical realists, who felt frustration of American bourgeois democracy, awareness of a human person's tragic fate in America, humanistic tendencies. So, F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in the "Golden Twenties" and wrote about the Jazz life and the economic boom after World War I. Thus, we are going to discuss literature legacy of Francis Scott Fitzgerald giving observations of The Great Gatsby as an example.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's life as art

First of all, it is necessary to mention that Francis Scott Fitzgerald came from not rich, but a wealthy family, he studied at Princeton University, where he felt a sharp distinction between himself and the children of wealthy parents, he was drafted into the army, but missed, not only to the front, and even overseas - to Europe. While Fitzgerald was still a student at Princeton, he had got, as he later wrote, 'lasting distrust and hostility to the class of loafers, he found in self not revolutionary beliefs, but smoldering hatred of a peasant towards those people' (Crain, 2000). This sharp feeling of hatred to the rich people pervaded the outset art of Fitzgerald. At the same time, the writer's soul was penetrated by the seeds of distrust and frustration. He published his first story with some difficulties and then quickly discovered that serious things are not printed in mass magazines, which are able to pay large fees, and his stories are accepted only by the so-called little magazines.

Describing Fitzgerald's life as art, Pelzer stated that "Life and art converged in the fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald. The yearning boy from provincial St. Paul, Minnesota, grew into a man whose life epitomized the gay and carefree excesses of the period, that 'roaring' time between World War I and the stock market crash of 1929 that he christened the Jazz Age" (Pelzer, 2000). Stanley added the following statement in his description: "He never lost his awe of wealth and power or his desire to attain their tangible rewards. What he did develop, however, was double vision, the ability not only to document the manners and mores, the fashions and fads of his times, but also to evaluate them - and himself - objectively" (Stanley, 2000). In such a way, it is possible to conclude that Fitzgerald created art from life he lived and described those events, which he saw everyday around him, and his stories and novels reveal all contradictions of both their author's life and age became not only a source of inspiration and due to this effect Fitzgerald's literature is considered to be the most important part in twentieth-century American literature.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald, by himself, called the novel The Great Gatsby "a pinnacle of his creativity." Kazin wrote that "The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald's triumph. It is, in fact, an American masterpiece. The story of a poor boy who in pursuit of a dream transforms himself into the image of success, The Great Gatsby captures in a work of conscious artistry all the yearning desire and anguished disappointment of its hopelessly romantic hero" (Kazin, 1951). Analyzing the novel, Berman said that "Gatsby's story is, however, more than the story of an individual. It is, in fact, the story of America. Gatsby's dream is the American Dream; his successes and failures are America's successes and failures. And in this correspondence, Fitzgerald creates his own version of national tragedy. The promise of a dream lies at the heart of Fitzgerald's American classic, but it is a dream corrupted by money and betrayed by carelessness. The Great Gatsby stands as a haunting elegy to its passing" (Berman, 2005). In many cases this novel was examined from the viewpoint of the main ideas of the novel system of images or meaning title. The novel's composition has been given very little attention while this composition is one of the most interesting moments in this novel, due to which revealed the deep layers of contents.

Characteristics of plot and composition of the novel

It is necessary to pay a specific attention to the fact that a composition of any story is an important moment for the author of a literary work, because he chooses not only own positions on what is happening, but also the means by which he will define the characters.

Let us examine the fact that Jazz plays a key role in The Great Gatsby. It is not just music; it is the background of the era (Fitzgerald called his time "Jazz Age"). The term "jazz age" gave a new estimate of postwar America. He expressed a feeling of instability, transience of life. In any case, many people lost their faith in the meaning of life and hastened to live and thus to escape, albeit illusory, of their helplessness. As we can see Jazz is also the principles of constructing a piece of music, the elements of which were used in a literary work in the most unexpected manner (in the novel The Great Gatsby). Jazz music based on improvisation, but any improvisation built around some topic. Thus, the highest manifestation of talent is the ability to bring a flight of fancy, not looking up until the end of the given topic. The ability to improvise is the ability to translate content in a form that is acceptable to a viewer (listener, reader), i.e. that the author's thought is not lost in its delights. Naturally, any improvisation in a literary work cannot be in the form in which it is present in music. Therefore, F. Scott Fitzgerald, as a talented artist, chose another, more convenient form - improvisation as a game with a word, and hence, with a reader, as well as a jazz soloist improvises, playing with the audience. In a more detailed study we may have direct parallels between the novel's construction and jazz composition of The Great Gatsby. But the ability to improvise (including literature) - it is not only a requirement of boundless imagination and talent. This is also a result of a careful study and knowledge of literary devices and their subtleties.

The storyline and plot of The Great Gatsby need special attention, because its development is a combination of various techniques. Despite the fact that in the novel we can find a lot of episodes, delaying the development of a direct action (retardation), against the background of this line Gatsby continues to evolve in a quite logical manner. Here we can draw a parallel with jazz compositions, when improvisation is built around one main theme. It may change the motives, methods of sound production, tools, but a main line remains unchanged. The music in The Great Gatsby is perceptible in an unconscious way, and this effect is achieved with the creation of a specific composition of chapters and ways of any action.

Color symbolism in The Great Gatsby

  Many painters use colors in their paintings for the purpose of to show that colors can symbolize a big variety of different things, and in order to express one or another feeling it is necessary to use a specific color. The use of appropriate color allows automatically feel what an artist is going to express and color symbolism is a very necessary instrument in any novel and work of literature. So, F. Scott Fitzgerald as an artist used different colors in his own novel and they helps the readers to plunge into main actions and details paying attention to colors. For example, yellow colors symbolize moral decay, decadence, and even death, but white vice versa: it symbolizes innocence. The green color is a way to show hope and strong will. It allows to mention that all the heroes are endowed with Fitzgerald's 'gift of hope', with increased sensitivity to the promises of life, which makes them young ("the young breath-giving air") (Fitzgerald, 1994). Thus, we can see that according to color symbolism it becomes obvious that Fitzgerald's heroes do not live in accomplishments, but they live with their expectations, listening to the promises of unattainable future, or unattainable past, being in fact a favorite time of Fitzgerald, which represents the ideal fusion of past-future, and where present is only an intermediary, closing past and future together.

Parallel motives in The Great Gatsby

Analyzing The Great Gatsby we found that parallel motives play not the last role in the novel. The compositional structure of some chapters is very similar sometimes. For example, we can draw a parallel between the construction of the first and second chapters. The "present" in the first chapter begins with the moment when Nick shows the right way to the lost his way passerby. Parallel motives will inevitably lead to the fact that some of the problems already mentioned by the author, later begin to repeat. Therefore, there is anticipation of a reception of art. For example, the final choice of Daisy was determined by many motifs (a light attitude towards life against a backdrop of a 'light' atmosphere in the first chapter, her voice, in which we can hear how "ring money", etc.).

Observing The Great Gatsby we should remember that parallelism, in turn, is directly connected with jazz. Jazz is characterized, firstly, by the presence of a constant rhythm and pulse. Secondly, improvisation is always built around a single theme, which gives shape to improvise a soloist, and does not allow it to go too far. This means that a fantasy of artist in itself can be limitless. The presence of a single theme, a constant return to it, is an organizing point, allowing a soloist did not forget about a listener. The ability to improvise also means the ability to translate thoughts into a form that will be understandable to a listener.

Fitzgerald's legacy

Dwelling on The Great Gatsby as a part of Fitzgerald's legacy and combining this paragraph with previously stated information, it is important to say that main methods of parallelism, artistic anticipation, retardation and other techniques were based on a tangible connection to music of jazz. Moreover, the presence of this theme, in its turn, allows the improviser to return to it (hence, the technique of "flashback"), is constantly repeated in a modified form (parallelism) and, hence, "predict" an event (anticipation art) and play with the reader (false moves and retardation).

The fact that Jazz in The Great Gatsby is not only a background epoch, but also a compositional technique, says that the author's attitude is strongly influenced by this trend. If for the composition of a literary work (which is a "model" of reality) was chosen precisely this form, so, life around has many features of jazz - instability, unexpected, improvisation, lightness and unpredictability. Fitzgerald delicately felt the most tragic contradictions of his time (and also predicted a coming depression of the thirties), reflected them with great skills in many ways by constructing a special story and song in his novel The Great Gatsby (Margolies, 1997).


Thus, taking everything into consideration, it is possible to conclude that Fitzgerald managed to achieve what he considered to be an appointment of art, namely to leave a lasting mark in the reader's mind in The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald was trying to find new values, which he could oppose to the ghost values of bourgeois civilization. Thus, redefining the importance of Fitzgerald's creativity, the role and place of The Great Gatsby in American literature of the XX century still continues. Nowadays, it is generally recognized that this brilliant, by its form and style novel, is a vivid example of the U.S. literature of the first half of the XX century.