An autobiographical portrayal of F. Scott Fitzgerald as Jay Gatsby, in The
Frances Scott Key Fitzgerald, born September 24, 1896 in St. Paul,
Minnesota, is seen today as one of the true great American novelists.
Although he lived a life filled with alcoholism, despair, and lost-love, he
managed to create the ultimate love story and seemed to pinpoint the
"American Dream" in his classic novel, The Great Gatsby. In the novel, Jay
Gatsby is the epitome of the "self-made man," in which he dedicates his
entire life to climbing the social ladder in order to gain wealth, to
ultimately win the love of a woman: something that proves to be
unattainable. As it turns out, Gatsby's excessive extravagance and love of
money, mixed with his obsession for a woman's love, is actually the
autobiographical portrayal of Fitzgerald.
While attending Princeton University, Fitzgerald struggled immensely with
his grades and spent most of his time catering to his "social" needs. He
became quite involved with the Princeton Triangle Club, an undergraduate
club which wrote and produced a lively musical comedy each fall, and
performed it during the Christmas vacation in a dozen major cities across
the country. Fitzgerald was also elected to "Cottage," which was one of the
big four clubs at Princeton. "Its lavish weekend parties in impressive
surroundings, which attracted girls from New York, Philadelphia and beyond,
may well have provided the first grain of inspiration for Fitzgerald's
portrayal of Jay Gatsby's fabulous parties on Long Island" (Meyers, 27).
Although Fitzgerald was a "social butterfly" while at Princeton, he never
had any girlfriends. However, at a Christmas dance in St. Paul, MN during
his sophomore year, he met Ginevra King, a sophisticated sixteen-year-old
who was visiting her roommate, and immediately f...