Thursday, April 19, 2007

Throughout The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald makes use of numerous literary devices. He uses them to convey deeper meanings of his novel as well as to make the text more interesting. Most frequently employed by Fitzgerald are;
Foreshadowing – The act of presenting materials that hint at events that occur later in a story. All the way leading up to the climax, Fitzgerald hints at the downfall of Gatsby, such as in Chapter 3 where he writes, “He snatched the book from me and placed it hastily on its shelf muttering that if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to collapse.”
Irony – The difference between appearance and reality. There are three types;
Dramatic – Something is known by the reader but not by the characters. Characteristic of this is the scene where all the characters except Tom are aware of the affair between Gatsby and Daisy, until of course it finally hits him.
Verbal – A statement that was made that implies the opposite. Used extensively by Fitzgerald, it was many times in reference to Gatsby, like when Wolfshiem says that Gatsby “would never so much as look at a friend’s wife.”
Situational – An event happens that is contrary to the expectations of the reader. At the very end of the story, contrary to the expectations, or at least the hopes, of the readers, Fitzgerald has Daisy stay with Tom instead of leaving him.
Allusion – a reference to a person, event, object, or work from literature that is expected to be known by the reader. There are numerous references throughout the entire work to literature, such as the John L Stoddard Lectures, Hopalong Cassidy, and Castle Rackrent, and to the popular culture of the 1920’s, such as Frisco, Belasco, and the popular novel “Simon Called Peter.”
Symbolism – presenting a thing that represents both itself and something else. Fitzgerald made many things in The Great Gatsby highly symbolic to try and better convey his themes Among others, he uses colors, locations, seasons, cars, and Daisy’s voice.
Aphorism- An aphorism is a short saying or pointed statement. Examples of aphorisms include “Time is money” or “The early bird catches the worm.” An aphorism that gains currency from generation to generation is called an adage or proverb. An example of an aphorism occurs early in the book when Nick Carraway narrates for us the wise advice his father had given him, “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had.
Flashback- A flashback is a section of a literary work that presents an event or series of events that occurred earlier than the current time in the work. Writers use flashbacks for many purposes, but most notably to provide background information, or exposition. In popular melodramatic works, including modern romance fiction and detective stories, flashbacks are often used to end suspense by revealing key elements of the plot such as a character’s true identity or the actual perpetrator of a crime. An example of a flashback occurs in chapter 4, starting when Jordan says “One October day in nineteen-seventeen.”
Simile- A simile is a comparison of two things using the word “like” or the word “as”. Similes occur very regularly throughout the book. Some examples include at the start of chapter 3, where Nick narrates to us,” In his blue garden men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” Another one occurs in chapter 7, when Nick says, “Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols, weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans”. These occur rather regularly throughout the book.
Metaphor- A metaphor is an indirect comparison of two things without the use of the words “like” or “as”. Daisy uses a metaphor to describe Nick in chapter 1 when she says, “You remind me of a- of a rose, an absolute rose. Doesn’t he?” These occur regularly throughout the book.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota to a well-to-do family on September 24. 1896. Fitzgerald was one of the best known American authors of the 1920s and '30s and is very often associated with the optimism and extremes of that era's "Jazz Age." Fitzgerald was named after his distant cousin, Francis Scott Key, who was the composer of the American National Anthem. Fitzgerald’s father, Edward Fitzgerald, was an unsuccessful wicker furniture salesman and an Irish immigrant. His mother, Mollie McQuillan, was the oldest child of Philip Francis McQuillan, an Irish immigrant whose wholesale grocery business made him enormously wealthy.
Fitzgerald grew up in a formally Catholic and upper middle class environment. Because of the loss of two sisters before Fitzgerald was born, his mother was very over protective of him. In 1909, when he was twelve-years-old, Fitzgerald was enrolled in St. Paul Academy. His first piece of literature was published in his school newspaper when he was thirteen. He attended Newman School, a prep school in Hackensack, New Jersey, in 1911-1912. He entered Princeton University in 1913 as a member of the class of 1917. Fitzgerald neglected his studies for his literary apprenticeship. He wrote the scripts and lyrics for the Princeton Triangle Club musicals and was a contributor to the Princeton Tiger humor magazine and the Nassau Literary Magazine. On academic probation and improbable to graduate, Fitzgerald joined the army in 1917 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in infantry. Convinced that he would die in war, he quickly wrote a novel, The Romantic Egotist.
In June 1918 Fitzgerald was assigned to Camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama. There he fell in love with eighteen-year-old Zelda Sayre, the youngest daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. The romance increased Fitzgerald’s hopes for success of his novel, but after revision, Scribners, a publishing company, rejected it for a second time. The war ended just before he was to be sent overseas; after his discharge in 1919 he went to New York City to seek his fortune in order to marry. Unwilling to wait while Fitzgerald succeeded in the advertisement business and reluctant to live on his small salary, Zelda broke their engagement.
Fitzgerald quit his job in July 191 and returned to St. Paul to rewrite his novel as This Side of Paradise. Editor Maxwell Perkins of Scribners accepted it in September. In the fall-winter of 1919 Fitzgerald began his career as a writer of stories for the mass-circulation magazines. Working through agent Harold Ober, Fitzgerald interrupted work on his novels to write moneymaking, popular fiction for the rest of his life. The Saturday Evening Post became Fitzgerald’s best story market. Fitzgerald’s more ambitious stories, such as “May Day” and “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” were published in The Smart Set, which had a small circulation.
Fitzgerald enjoyed the fame and fortune. His novels reflected his lifestyle, describing in semi-autobiographical fiction the privileges of lives of wealthy, aspiring socialites. Fitzgerald wrote his second novel - "The Beautiful and the Damned" a year after he married Zelda. Three years later, after the birth of their first and only child, “Scottie”, Fitzgerald finished his best-known work, The Great Gatsby. It received exceptional reviews but the book did not make the money Fitzgerald expected. Dramatized versions of the book opened at the Ambassador Theatre in New York on February 2, 1926. The plays success made possible the sale of Gatsby to the movies. The first film version was made in the same year, directed by Herbert Brenon. The lavish living made possible by such success, however, took its toll. Regularly globe-trotting the Fitzgerald’s tried unsuccessfully to escape or at least look for a break from Fitzgerald’s alcoholism and Zelda's mental illness.
Things were starting to go well for Fitzgerald near the end of his life. He won a contract in 1937 to write for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Hollywood and fell in love with Sheilah Graham, a movie columnist. He had started writing again; things such as scripts, short-stories, and the first draft of a new novel about Hollywood. The last screen play he was working on before he died was The Last Tycoon. This was later made into a movie. He endured a heart attack and died in 1940 at the age of 44.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was most frequently recognized only as an excessive drunk, who epitomized the excesses of the Jazz Age. Fitzgerald's work did not receive the credibility and appreciation it has today until years after his death.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose fame rests mainly upon his novels, also wrote many of short stories that literally provided him with his livelihood, many of which made their initial appearances in The Saturday Evening Post and Esquire. In total, one hundred eighty-one short stories by Fitzgerald, both published and unpublished. Here are some of the published short stories of Fitzgerald:
"Crazy Sunday"
"Outside the Cabinet-Maker's"
"The Lees of Happiness"
"Our Own Movie Queen"
"Hot & Cold Blood"
"The World's Fair""
'The Sensible Thing' "
The Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald
Original editions only:
This Side of Paradise. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920.
The Beautiful and Damned. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922.
The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
Tender Is the Night. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934.
The Last Tycoon: An Unfinished Novel. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1941.