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“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” The Roaring Twenties was a time like none other in American history, a time when youth ruled, when music was the center of people’s lives, and most importantly, it was the age of economic prosperity and social change. It was the explosive decade of the century, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby is still the defining image of America in the Roaring Twenties.Although Scott Fitzgerald’s books were staggeringly successful, his life was anything but cheerful, in fact, his life was miserable and filled with sadness. Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896. Born in St. Paul Minnesota to a devoted Catholic family, Scott was named Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, in honor of his three times removed cousin. His father, Edward, brought charm and elegance to the family. Although he was a businessman, he experienced minimal financial success. Scott’s mother, Mollie, was the daughter of an Irish immigrant who was tremendously successful in the wholesale business. Although she came from a family that valued business, she had little interest in social life. The family lived adequately on the outskirts of Summit Avenue, although they were living quite comfortably, they were not considered wealthy at all. Scott’s interest in society life all started in Minnesota, when he would constantly play with the rich kids, trying to fit in, but knowing he would never. The family kept moving from place to place due to financial issues, his father got fired in 1908 weeks before Scotts twelfth birthday. Although Minnesota was the home of Scott, he was rarely there and was occupied with boarding schools, Princeton University, and the army. In prep school, Scott published his first work in a magazine called Now. He also endeavored into the fields of athletics and he loved it. He also had a passion for writing, and he went on to publish two more short stories while still in prep school. He was sent to Newman school where he would meet his encourager and inspiration, Fr. Sigourney Fay. There he learned that despite his love of sports, his literary career would be far more successful. He went to Princeton in 1913, and wrote scripts and screenplays, while also contributing to the Princeton publications. Although he did write a lot in college, he didn’t do well academically, and since graduation looked unlikely he joined the army and later became a second lieutenant in the infantry. When he got assigned to Camp Sheridan, next to Montgomery, his life changed forever. He fell in love with Zelda Sayre, with him being 22 years old and her being 18. After being discharged from the army in 1919, he and Zelda moved to New York in hopes of earning money by working at an advertising agency. Things with Zelda got heated, and Scott moved back to St. Paul to work on his literary career. Things got better between each other and marriage was imminent. Scott published his first novel, This Side of Paradise, and got married to Zelda one week later. The book did very well, and he and Zelda soon became the embodiment of the twenties because of their extravagant lifestyle. They traveled to Europe extensively, and soon had their daughter in 1921, Francis Fitzgerald. Despite their fame, things went downhill very fast. Both Zelda and Scott went through serious alcohol problems, which is definitely not good when you have a child. Although he did have success with his first novel, he soon faced financial difficulties. In order to try to keep their extravagant lifestyles in place, Scott wrote short stories in popular magazines. Scott published is most famous novel of all, The Great Gatsby. They experienced tremendous success, but things soon got out of hand. In 1930, Zelda experienced her first mental breakdown. Her condition worsened, so she had to leave to Europe in order to get the proper treatment. She stayed in Europe for 1 year, and when she came back she had her second mental breakdown. She was depressed and kept having fights with Scott, and unfortunately, she passed away to a hospital fire in 1948. Scott fell into a relationship with another woman, and he passed away in 1940. Although his reputation was shaky at the time of his death, The Great Gatsby will never be forgotten. F. Scott Fitzgerald had an interesting life, and his works will never be forgotten. F. Scott Fitzgerald had an immense impact on the Roaring twenties with his widely controversial novels and interesting background. Scott published The Great Gatsby in 1926 and it immediately became a sensation. The novel portrayed a defining image of life in the twenties. The Great Gatsby explores many themes such as power, justice, betrayal, greed and the American dream. The Great Gatsby is deemed as a brilliant piece of social commentary, giving an extremely vivid peek of life in the twenties. Scott set up his novel into distinct groups and by the end each group has its own problems to grapple with, leaving the reader with a reminder of how dangerous the world really is. Scott starts to attack the rich people first. He presents the rich people into two different groups. First, the people that are born into wealth. Their families have always had money, and therefore they are called “old money.” As represented in this novel, the “old money” rarely have to work and they spend their time amusing themselves. The other group, which Scott falls under, is the group based not so much on how much money one has, but how they acquired it. He makes a point that the “old money” people can’t possibly have the same taste and elegance that they have. Scott has worked for his money, which means, in their opinion, he can’t possibly be like them. In many aspect, the elite are correct, the “new money” people can’t be like them, and that works in their favor. Those who are born into wealth, according to Scott, are judgemental and superficial, and fail to care for others. Instead, they live their lives extravagantly to manifest their superiority. But, the “new money” people aren’t much better themselves. When Gatsby dies, all the people who regularly came to his house for parties became busy elsewhere, blatantly abandoning Gatsby because he could no longer do anything for them. Most people would think that the people that are recently getting rich would be more sensitive to the people around them, but that is a wild fallacy. Scott moves on to the unfortunate people, the people without money. Nick, who comes from a middle-class family doesn’t nearly have the money Tom and Gatsby do. In the end, though, he presents himself as a forthright disciplined man, which is much more than Tom portrays. Myrtle is another story, she is lower class, and desperately tries to jump the social hierarchy. She has an affair with Tom, and she is more than pleased with her decision. Because of the seeping misery filling her life, she has withdrawn herself from her moral obligations and has no restraint when it comes to cheating on her husband if it means living the life she has always dreamed of. What she seizes to realize is that Tom and his rich bratty friends will never accept her into their circle. Tom purposely picks lower-class women to sleep with because for him, their powerless. Strangely, being with a lower-class woman gives him a sense of power and makes him feel better about himself. Myrtle end up being no more than a pathetic toy to Tom and his friends. Fitzgerald represents a harsh picture of the world he sees around him. The irony is that this world was short-lived, with the stock market crash in the late twenties, this world he has portrayed is ruined(probably for the better.) This novel shows how being materialistic and thinking that your superior to somebody else based on factors of nonsense is what makes us insensitive and inhumane human beings, which is the one thing that distinguishes us from the animals. Overall, The Great Gatsby is a novel that teaches us themes that define our world, and Scott Fitzgerald along with his novels will never be forgotten. The twenties was a time like no other in America, with dance, music, and social change sweeping through the entire country, and F. Scott Fitzgerald definitely contributed to this time period with his world-changing novels.

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