What was Fitzgerald's purpose for writing The Great Gatsby?  

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Only F. Scott Fitzgerald himself can answer this question with any certainty at all. According to the forward of Scribner's The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald desired his novel to be "a consciously artistic achievement," which suggests that Fitgerald's purpose in writing The Great Gatsby was to create a work of art.

Fitzgerald wrote many letters to his friends and editors, and in this correspondence, Fitzgerald reveals what he may have meant by an artistic achievement. He writes in some of his letters of how long it took him to write the novel (about one year), and in others, he claims that everything he had left out of The Great Gatsby would be enough to create another book entirely. The dedication and the restraint that Fitzgerald must have practiced to create the book is representative of successful artists of all types; as a writer, Fitzgerald set his vision down in words, and the artistry is evident in the book's great beauty and enduring popularity.

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Ultimately, we cannot determine the answer to this as it would require being able to see inside the mind of Fitzgerald and assess his inner feelings and motives, something that is not possible. 

We do know that Fitzgerald, starting as a teenager, longed for literary success, wanting both to create great works and to become well-known and well-respected. Part of this may have stemmed from his family background, which existed at the fringes of the elite society of Minneapolis; as a student a Princeton Fitzgerald also found himself on the margins of an east coast elite. He was strongly ambivalent about the elites he both wished to join and despised for their insularity, materialism, and self-centeredness. Thus to some degree we can assume that among Fitzgerald's motives was a desire to work out some of his own ambivalence to upper class society.

Finally, Fitzgerald was a professional writer who was attempting to earn a living by writing and who was motivated in part to write because it was how he supported himself and his wife Zelda.  

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