Amory Blaine's "Mirrors" in Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise

1487 Words Sep 30th, 1999 6 Pages
Amory Blaine's "Mirrors" in Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel This Side of Paradise, Amory Blaine searches for his identity by "mirroring" people he admires. However, these
"mirrors" actually block him from finding his true self. He falls in love with women whose personalities intrigue him; he mimics the actions of men he looks up to. Eleanor Savage and Burne Holiday serve as prime examples of this. Until
Amory loses his pivotal "mirror," Monsignor Darcy, he searches for his soul in all the wrong places. When Monsignor Darcy dies, Amory has the spiritual epiphany he needs to reach his "paradise" - the knowledge of who Amory Blaine truly is. Amory appears to be a rather vacuous choice for a
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Eleanor and Amory hate each other after this realization, but the hatred has a good quality in that Amory understands that he "had loved himself in Eleanor, so now what he hated was only a mirror" (218). Choosing to emulate Eleanor's dementia proved to be a bad decision along the course of Amory's search for himself. He sees his own defunct image in this "mirror," and it frightens him.
It causes him to temporarily loathe himself as well as Eleanor, but it also teaches him that he needs to become an individual. While this idea exists in
Amory's mind, it does not strike him full force until the death of Monsignor
Darcy.
Monsignor Darcy seems to be an odd choice for a role model for Amory since Amory continually refers to himself as a "paganist" (209). However, it is not surprising that Amory idolizes the Monsignor not only because his pagan talk is superficial, but also because Beatrice held the Monsignor in the highest regard. Amory does not mean he believes in paganism when he refers to himself as "paganist;" he does not know himself well enough to know whether or not he believes in God. Rather he means he experiences what could be called a paganism of the soul: he has no soul, therefore nothing exists for him to, figuratively, worship, or technically, with which to worship. Amory looks up to Monsignor
Darcy because he epitomizes what Amory wishes he could be; passively he