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A Comparison Of Biographic Features In The Sun Also Rises And The Great Gatsby

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The writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway included biographical information in their novels The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises that illuminated the meaning of the work. Although The Sun Also Rises is more closely related to actual events in Hemingway's life than The Great Gatsby was to events in Fitzgerald's life, they both take the same approach. They both make use of non-judgemental narrators to comment on the "lost generation". This narrator allows Fitzgerlald and Hemingway to write about their own society. Fitzgerlald comments on the jaded old-wealth society of the Eastern United States and the corruption of the American Dream. Hemingway comments on the effects of World War I on the "lost generation" and the hope for the future in the next generation. By adding biographical features into their novels both Fitzgerald and Hemingway are able to give their novels that extra depth because the plot of the novels are more realistic and accurately reflect the society of the times. The story in Fitzgerald's book contains basic ideas from his life, not nessesarily actual events. Several characters have biographical characterization and the novel reflects his own experiences. Hemingway's novel, however, is almost entirely based on actual events that happened to Hemingway and a group of his friends. This enhances the realism of The Sun Also Rises. Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby In his novel, The Great Gatsby Francis Scott Fitzgerald includes many autobiographical features to enhance and illuminate the themes of the work. Certain main characters like Daisy Buchannon, Jay Gatsby, and the narrator Nick Carraway are representations of actual people from Fitzgerald's life. Fitzgerald makes use of a non-judgemental narrator to simply give the details and leave the anylasis to the reader. However, based on the details, the narrators conclusions are relatively evident. In this novel, Fitzgerald is able to write about his experiences from a different perspective and include his self in both the characters of Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway. As in many of Fitzgerald's works, he writes about a "golden girl"1), the desire of every man that he couldn't have. In the case of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald creates the character of Daisy to fit this discription. In actuality the motivation for Fitzgerald's writing about the golden girl came from real events. Ginevra King "was the love of [Fitzgerald's] young life."2) In Ginevra's eyes, however, Fitzgerald was simply one of the many men in her young life and "when it came time she dropped him."3)Most importantly, however, "his rejection by Ginevra motivated much of his fiction."4) In The Great Gatsby, Daisy is shown by the end to be a very careless and confused who "smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness... and let other people clean up the mess they had made."5) This statement from the novel relates to Fitzgeralds own fealings for Ginevra who used him, then dropped him when it came time leaving Francis devastated.6) This rejection shaped Fitzgeralds view of women in general and thus affected his characterization of women. The "romance" between Fitzgerald and Ginevra King is also given meaning in The Great Gatsby as Ginevra King and Fitzgerald himself came from different social worlds just as Daisy and young poor Gatsby did. In both situations, the woman came from the aristocratic "old money" rich and the guys were respectivly poor in comparison. Fitzgerald, later in life, was from the middle class and in this way can be compared to the narrator, Nick Carraway. His social situation was the same and this perspective of the relationships between the rich and poor allowed Fitzgerald to write of his own experiences with Ginevra King. As Fitzgerald himself puts it, "The whole idea of Gatsby is the unfairness of a poor young man not being able to marry a girl with money."1) An independent percpective of the relationship from the middle class allows Fitzgerald to accomplish this. Nick Carraway is "the voice of Fitzgerald's rational self."2) In expressions in the novel, Fitzgerald gives light to his rational self. That's my Middle West - not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters . . . I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all - Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.3) Fitzgerald himself took trains back to the Mid-West at christmas time to celebrate and party.4) In this passage Fitzgerald also tells the truth about his views of Eastern rich society, where he didn't fit in. It can also be argued that Fitzgerald also represents himself in the character of Jay Gatsby. In the characterization of Gatsby, Fitzgerald includes his own youthful idolizing ideals and emotions. While Daisy was clearly the symbol of Ginevra King, "Fitzgerald originally based the figure of Gatsby on a stock manipulator he'd encountered in Great Neck and then let change into himself."1) Indeed, Fitzgerald didn't really know the model of Gatsby in the early stages of the novel. It's not until page 48 till Gatsby is actually presented in the novel after many mysterious and romantic models have already been sugested. Gatsby is prompted up with rumors that he's the nephew of the Kaiser, or that he had been a German spy in the war, or that he went to Oxford, or even that he has killed a man. He is described with mystery and signs the invitation card with a "majestic hand"2). In Fitzgerald's own words, "Gatsby was never quite real to me. His original served for a good enough exterior until about the middle of the book he grew thin and I began to fill him in with my emotional life."3) Just as Nick represented Fitzgerald's "rational self", Gatsby, later in the book, represents Fitzgerald's emotional and idealisitc views of youth left over from his rejection by Ginevra. By interweaving his life, a special person and maybe others, and his views into The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald enhances and gives extra meaning to his work. Fitzgerald incorporates his own views through the use of a non-judgemental middle-class narrator. Unlike Gatsby, who is ignorant to the idea that he doesn't belong in Tom and Daisy's world, the later Fitzgerald, at the time he wrote The Great Gatsby understood through experience that the social eminence of the aristocrats could not be imitated



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