This Side of Paradaise by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay
1414 Words6 Pages
Who is Amory Blaine? It seems, in certain ways that Amory serves as the quintessential portrait of the American youth, always struggling between individuality and the desire for acceptance. But also we get glimpses of situations in which he seems to be the embodiment of America itself – of old European heritage, struggling with his uniqueness in a world where, to survive, he must fit in.
Fitzgerald described the novel as a “quest novel” that focuses on Amory’s journey to self-understanding. The three primary elements that influence Amory on his road to self-realization are convention, women, and money. This is what makes him a purely American character. These three elements are indeed what make the American persona go forth: individuality…show more content… Amory’s European heritage enhances his individuality, but also his isolation. His egotism, a result of the special education and spirit his mother instilled in him, proves to be the main theme of the book, much like it is the main theme of American life. He describes himself as a “boy marked for glory,” longing for material wealth, but his success becomes his goal. He sees himself as superior, and this causes much of his self-centeredness. He blatantly disregards his peers for not showing the same brand of otherness as he does, with the exception of a few such as Tom, Burne, and Dick.
The average American is self-centered, brought up in a culture where individualism is key. However, s/he must also face the social norms imposed by society, which clashes with that aforementioned individuality. Thus, the American individual has to conform to be able to integrate themselves in society. We see this in Amory’s journey, as he slowly learns social customs and how to follow them to be a proper Big Man (term coined by him). Amory adapts to them, but does not blindly follow them.
Also, Amory’s struggle between the fruits of his heritage and the want to integrate and be seen as a leading figure can be compared to that of America’s during its history. America, born out of a melting pot of European heritages, just like Amory, distances itself from its parent, Europe (Amory’s mother) to finally fit in and make a place for itself in the world. Only when the links with Europe are