This Side of Paradise is the first novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The history of publishing this novel is rather long and captivating.
Fitzgerald could not find any publisher for his first story. It is not even strange, as in 1920, Fitzgerald was an unknown writer, and his stories were unknown to the reader and never criticized. This Side of Paradise consists of two parts: The Romantic Egoist and The Education of a Personage. These stories are about a young man, Amory Blaine, his life, and his dreams.
After reading the book, it is possible to find out several specific archetypes, which are taking from Fitzgerald’s life. In order to choose the best examples of archetypes, it is necessary to find a clear explanation to what a specific archetype is, and compare the events of the story with the events of Fitzgerald’s life.
“The archetype is an invariant structural relationship of the imaginal world, a kind of imaginal existence which can be realized only through personal experience in the course of an individual life.” (Papadopoulos, 1992, p 109)
It is necessary to admit that the year of 1919 was rather tragic for Scott. At the age of 22, the writer broke up with her girlfriend, Zelda Sayre. “Zelda was one of the most popular girls in town because she was known as a good sport who would do anything for the fun of it.”
(Bruccoli & Smith, 2002, p 88) Fitzgerald did everything possible to attract the attention of this girl, and he achieved the desirable purpose. However, their happiness was not so long. When they broke up, he started drinking. In several days, he decided to stop all those drinking and suffering and create a novel in order to become famous and win her girl back.
In the novel, the major character, Amory, is always rejected by women. It is quite possible that the major character is a specific archetype of Fitzgerald himself. Amory was a successful student, instructor. He was just a perfect man, as Fitzgerald considered himself.
However, in the novel, a true Amory’s love, Rosalind, decides to break up with him and marry a wealthy man. Does it look like the same situation in his real life? It certainly is. The two imagery characters, Amory Blaine and Rosalind, are the archetypes of real people, Fitzgerald and Zelda.
The love of those people was broken because of poverty of the men. Their women could not live with poor people and even did not want to wait a bit and provide their men with time to earn more money.
At the end of This Side of Paradise, the main character says: “I know myself,” he cried, “but that is all.”” (Fitzgerald, 1982, p 442) Almost the same happened to Fitzgerald. He knew a lot and was able to create captivating stories. However, is it the only thing that can make a man happy? Maybe, but for Fitzgerald, as well as for Blaine, it was not enough.
“This Side of Paradise bears early evidence of Fitzgerald’s ambivalent, though finally disparaging attitude towards popular culture in general and sentimentality in particular.” (Stanley, 2004, p 144) The plot of the story, its characters, and setting – this is what can help the reader to know and comprehend more F. Scott Fitzgerald and his ideas. He faced numerous troubles and had to be ready to solve them as a man, strong and self-confident.
Bruccoli, M. J. & Smith, S. F. (2002). Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: the Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald. University of South Carolina Press.
Fitzgerald, F. S. (1982). This Side of Paradise. Plain Label Books.
Papadopoulos, R. K. (1992). Carl Gustav Jung: Critical Assessments. Routledge.
Stanley, L. (2004). The Foreign Critical Reputation of F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1890 – 2000: An Analysis and Annotated Bibliography. Greenwood Publishing Group.