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This Side of Paradise is, in fact, the novel which positioned F. Scott Fitzgerald as a golden boy of Jazz Age. Issued in 1920, at the time when the author was only 26, the book provided him with immediate fame and monetary success. While describing the life account of Amory Blaine, the privileged, purposeless and narcissistic Princeton student, the book closely reflects author’s own experiences as an undergraduate. The Blaine's trip from the prep school to college and to the World War I is a story of "the lost generation." Young boy reflects what Fitzgerald so remarkably depicted as a new generation grown up to discover all Gods dead, all wars struggled, all faiths in person shaken (Monk 60-70). A parody of literary styles, the stunning chronicle of youth remains sarcastically relevant many decades later. Basically, the reason Fitzgerald is so loved and popular is that readers relate to themes he deals with, the impatience of youth, illusion of dream, unsatisfactory reality. He speaks to the troubled soul, which always doubts everything.

The Plot of the Novel

Yearning for success, desiring status, longing for love – this ideology marks the initial book of F. Scott Fitzgerald. This Side of Paradise is a partly autobiographical take on his own early years. With the elegant prose, varying stylistic approaches and keen intellect, he records the living of Amory Blaine, the Princeton undergraduate in search of recognition. Amory becomes disappointed; however, his experiences disrupt his quest.

Although physically the plot of the novel followed the living of Amory from his early days to around his thirties or late twenties, the author also went into the depth, concerning the transition from a boy to a man, which the protagonist made mentally. It is the real enjoyment to follow this progress as the author researched deeper and deeper in Amory's inner journey to discover himself.

To keep it simple, it should be mentioned that the plot is about the schooling of Amory, who excels physically due to the attractiveness, socially as he is really charming, emotionally, where his superiority is unquestionable. Not being a very sympathetic person, he eventually evolves. In fact, Amory’s living is traced from early days through his adolescence, time frame, which spans right across the fronts of the First World War. Above all is the pessimism on the living mixed with a strong wish of living own life at a full speed. Amory begins as the young boy enrolled in a preparatory school, where he does not fit in, after that he finally enters Princeton, where he evolves friendships and starts experiencing a real life. He fells in love with Rosalind, and they are discussing marriage, till she understands that “qualities I love you for are the ones, which will always make you failure” and chooses a wealthy man, breaking Amory’s heart.

The break-up has an enormous impact on Amory’s character; dream of love is wrecked, and the young men will never be the same again. Towards the finale, Amory utilizes the phrase “scrap-book of my life”. This is a great expression as this really is a gorgeous growing-up account, where poems, dialogues, experiences, reflections mix together to tell about Amory’s living and help readers to learn a little more about themselves in the process.

Two Generations – Past and Present

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s debut This Side of Paradise is still extraordinarily relevant to the modern times, and the author’s initial work, published approximately a century ago, still reflects the youths nowadays. This Side of Paradise concerns Amory Blaine, a Princetonian persuaded of his intellectual brightness, but never quite discovering his own niche, moving from one love affair to another, wondering what living has in store for the excellent brain like his. Throughout the route of the book, he removes himself from the extremely regulated globe of his mother’s, looks for knowledge in the literary classics, makes friends at Princeton, loses heart to females, who have yet to learn real love, joins war, comes back to the US penniless, questions the religious faith in God, and, most important of all, comes to terms with the disenchantment. Never mind that the author modeled Amory on himself. This protagonist can show the way how Fitzgerald observed himself: handsome, clever, highly cultured, ambitious, and restive; but Amory could also simply be any usual young thinker, living in 1920’s or even current America. The representation of a young person who cannot decide on the “right” way to exist is usual of the post-war generation that had lost the sight of meaning and reason of living, when the war exposed to the globe the ugly face of human essence. Some of the most challenging passages concerning the spiritual progress come towards the finale of the book. In a conversation with “big person with goggles” (who turns out to be father of a Princetonian friend of his, who had passed away in the war), Amory questions the married person, declaring that he turns “nine times out of ten, conventional as far as present social circumstances are concerned”. When asked why the single individual is superior, he asserts:

Opposed is a person who, being mentally morally single, continually looks for novel systems, which will counteract or control human essence. His trouble is more difficult. It is not living that is complicated. It is the fight to guide and control existence. That is his fight. He is an element of progress – the morally married person is not.

This quote shows that Amory’s generation thinks that it is crucial to “control or counteract human essence.” For them to do so, they have to stay physically and mentally single. If they do not fight to “guide and control existence,” there will never be a progress, and the humanity will be destined to the demolition.

In the following passage, Amory, in reply to one more man’s declaration that the human essence is unchangeable, states fervently he believes the opposite is true. Amory’s idealism is the natural outcome of disillusionment. Thus, for him to soldier on, he has to believe, like the majority young people of our time that the alteration is achievable. The alteration may occur if one questions the current concepts and institutions. Amory, thus, questions the capitalist assemble (“I’m sick and tired of the system where the richest get the most beautiful girls”, morality, the idea of beauty, and God (“… there was a certain inherent lack in those to whom orthodox religion was necessary…”. Fitzgerald does not offer any cookie-cutter replies for Amory. Even when the book reaches its last page, Amory’s concepts are “still in riot”. Questions still haunt him, and he is not certain if “the fight was worthwhile”. His exploration for the identity is an enduring course and will most likely never come to the finale. A reader finally comes to the book’s well-known line: “I know myself, but that’s all”. Most likely, this is Fitzgerald’s manner of asserting that although it has been a long and difficult fight, in the finale the reward is self-knowledge – and that is something no person could ever belittle.

Convention, Females, and Wealth

This Side of Paradise is a genuinely contemporary literary work as it is the episodic account of internal life, so there is little general plot and many tiny account put within, all of them depicting the wanderings of the soul, heart, and mind of young Amory Blaine. Paradise is about a man’s coming of-age. Blaine blossoms with dreams and hopes of being a poet, a lover, a person of literature and important man on campus. However, his dreams crash into the disaster and disillusionment as he romances and parties the entire pathway toward adulthood.

Fitzgerald was really a writer of his time, but also remains relevant in this one. Every reader will be able to find traces of dilemmas and torments from own formative years. The novel makes you think that it would be so useful to have the book several years ago. The author worked at the time period, when the notion of “youth” as a divided, particular state was initially coming to the forefront in the USA. He appears to have been among the primary literary writers to depict youth as a state of refinement and its passing as a disastrous, awful deepening into misery, unevenness and death.

The author referred to his book as the quest novel. However, in a way, it is more than merely a quest novel; the novel chronicles Blaine's effort to make peace with himself and his real place in the universe. The three primary aspects, which influence the young man on his road to self-realization, are convention, females and wealth. As all three fail him, he comes closer to accomplishing his aim.

Several times, Amory recollects on what has impacted his growth most. The early influence is his eccentric mother, Beatrice. He attempts to change her impact by trying to fit in and conduct conservatively at school. When he is ultimately successful, he discovers the meaninglessness in conformity. Amory rejects the conformity and gets back on the pathway of reviving who he really is.

From youth, Amory is attracted to girls. After several unsuccessful loves, he falls in love with Rosalind. However, by rejecting to marry somebody without wealth, Rosalind breaks Blaine's heart. He deepens in another love affair with Eleanor, but feels having had a heart broken, he is unable of love. Ultimately, he abandons females as a resource of motivation. He lost his essence in Rosalind and just discovers himself again without the girl.

Though wealthy, whilst growing up, because of his relative’s terrible investments, Amory discovers himself penniless by the book’s finale. Without his prosperity, Amory has to search harder for meaning in his existence. He understands he hates scarcity, and with no capital, the young man has to look deep inside himself for a direction.

Finally, having lost convention, money and love, the young man experiences a profound self-fulfillment and comes to observe his own self-interest. In the last line of the book, he asserts that now, ultimately, he “knows himself, but that is all”.

Conclusion

This line completes the quest of the total book. When people are young, the senses overcome sense. They are everything, whilst matters of reason stay caught up in the bewilderment. The Princeton education appears to make practically no impression on few of the campus types, embracing Amory, though he is also extremely conflicted about the place: he likes Princeton as a character, an ideal, but drops out before finishing.

Indeed, formative years are amazing. Despite all the potential, young people frequently miss what they so anxiously reach for. In the finale, Amory is left alone, deprived of friendship, love and his Catholic religious conviction. He knows himself… but that is all, he asserts at the conclusion, stranded on the paradise's far and friendless side.

Amazingly, this dramatic chronicle of youth remains ironically relevant several decades later. This may be explained by the fact that readers relate to themes F. Scott Fitzgerald deals with, namely the impatience of youth, illusion of dream and unsatisfactory reality. The author speaks directly to the troubled soul, which always doubts everything.

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