Short Summary of the Great Gatsby

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Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald

About F. Scott Fitzgerald

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, the only son of an aristocratic father and a provincial, working-class mother. He was therefore the product of two divergent traditions: while his father's family included the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner" (after whom Fitzgerald was named), his mother's family was, in Fitzgerald's own words, "straight 1850 potato-famine Irish." As a result of this contrast, he was exceedingly ambivalent about the notion of the American dream: for him, it was at once vulgar and dazzlingly promising. It need scarcely be noted that such fascinated ambivalence is itself typically American.
Like the central character of The Great
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Fitzgerald's own divided nature can be seen in the contrast between the novel's hero, Jay Gatsby, and its narrator, Nick Carraway. The former represents the naive Midwesterner dazzled by the possibilities of the American dream; the latter represents the compassionate Princeton gentleman who cannot help but regard that dream with suspicion. The Great Gatsby may be described as the most profoundly American novel of its time; Fitzgerald connects Gatsby's dream, his "Platonic conception of himself," with the aspirations of the founders of America.
A year later, Fitzgerald published a collection of short stories entitled All the Sad Young Men. This book marks the end of the most productive period of Fitzgerald's life; the next decade was full of chaos and misery. Fitzgerald himself began to drink excessively, and Zelda began a slow descent into madness. In 1930 she suffered her first mental breakdown; her second breakdown, from which she never fully recovered, came in 1932.
Throughout the 1930s the Fitzgeralds fought an ultimately unsuccessful battle to save their marriage. This struggle was tremendously debilitating for Fitzgerald; he later said that he "left [his] capacity for hoping on the little roads that led to Zelda's sanitarium." He did not finish his next novel, Tender Is the Night, until 1934. It is the story of a psychiatrist who marries one of his patients, who, as she slowly recovers, exhausts his vitality until he is "a man used up." This book, the
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