RE: Need a comparison: The Great Gatsby vs This Side of Paradise.
In his first novel, This Side of Paradise, published in 1920 when the author was twenty-three years old, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced the major themes of his total work. The novel reveals that Fitzgerald had an early grasp of his essential material although he had not yet learned to exploit it expertly. In some ways his first novel is the most instructive of his four completed novels: here he nakedly and naively exposed his themes before his increased sophistication shaped his insights into the more impressive configurations of The Great Gatsby (1925) and Tender Is the Night(1934). In Amory Blaine, hero of This Side of Paradise, we can see the child who is father to the later men. and in his dilemmas we find the compelling themes of Fitzgerald’s work. The atmosphere and mindset of lavish excess are preserved in the plots and characters of Fitzgerald’s writings. Although Fitzgerald’s protagonists are wealthy, there is a noticeable distinction between those who come from “old money” and those who are considered “new money”. Amory Blaine, of This Side of Paradise, and Jay Gatsby, of The Great Gatsby, exemplify this difference. Fitzgerald’s novels explore the opulent lifestyle of the upper class, and the resulting desire of outsiders to belong. Jay Gatsby is one such character who makes his way to the fringes of the upper class. It seems appropriate that Gatsby creates a fraudulent identity for himself in order to belong to a world characterized by phoniness, in which “women who never knew each other’s names“ (The Great Gatsby 44) pretend to be the best of friends. Although Gatsby creates a fake identity, it is the people of the upper class, such as Amory, who are truly phony, for they understand and facilitate the superficiality of their world.