In what sense is The Great Gatsby an autobiographical novel?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Even though The Great Gatsby is not an autobiography, there are a number of autobiographical details. First, both Gatsby and Fitzgerald lived in the same time period, the roaring twenties. So, both experienced the same ethos. Second, Fitzgerald fell in love with a woman of higher standing, a socialite (Zelda) like Gatsby did with Daisy in the novel. Moreover, both men tried their best to win them over. Their methods were different, but both were passionate. Jay Gatsby threw elaborate parties to attract Daisy; Fitzgerald wrote. Fitzgerald also served in WWI, like Gatsby. Also both men lived in Europe for a time.

If we change directions just a bit, then we can also make the case that other characters in the novel also reflect Fitzgerald’s life. Some characters in the novel, such as Nick and Tom, attended Yale University and knew the life of a top Ivy league college. The same can be said of Fitzgerald—he attended Princeton University until he quit after being placed on academic probation.

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In many ways, F. Scott Fitzgerald lives out his personal aspirations and fears through his character of Jay Gatsby. Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald often hobnobbed with the social elite, but felt out of place, or like a poser, among them.

But perhaps the most direct parallel to his actual life can be found in the unrequited pursuit of elusive love. Once, on a visit home from college, the young FSF met a sixteen year old beauty named Ginerva King. In the novel, Gatsby meets Daisy when she is a child. Like Daisy Fay in "Gatsby," Giverna was wealthy and far above Fitzgerald's status. She had a sense of privilege and innate superiority and a sensual, seductive manner, as does Daisy.

The parallels between the fictional Daisy and the real-life relationship FSF had with Ginerva King are inconstancy and unattainability. Despite these obstacles, Gatsby's love for Daisy Fay remains constant and so too does Fitzgerald's for Ginerva.

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renelane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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F. Scott Fitzgerald aspired to be like the wealthy like those East Egg residents. Fitzgerald and his wife3 Zelda traipsed after the wealthy all through the French Riviera, and acquiring many debts in trying to be like them. He appeared to have a love/hate relationship with the elite-wanting to be one of them , and yet at times deeply critical of them.

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nancy-robinson | Student

The Great Gatsby is somewhat autobiography. Most notably the setting of Gatsby is the 1920s and Fitzgerald had his heyday in the 20s. Also, Daisy resembles Fitzgerald's wife Zelda in her lack of maternal instincts.

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