Why is This Side of Paradise considered to be a classic?

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janeyb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I may be biased, as Fitzgerald is my favorite author, and This Side of Paradise one of my favorite novels. The timelessness of this story (or why its considered a classic) stems not only from the unbelievable descriptive writing of Fitzgerald, but from the themes of the novel. One of the main themes in the novel is the difference in generations. Amory’s vanity and egotism, his flirtatious affairs with young women, his startling ideas (such as about socialism), and his vague contempt for nineteenth- century tradition was a slap in the face to the generation before it. Fitzgerald's characters were letting their parents know that they didn't understand them. That relevance, and that idea, a departure from what came before exists now for almost every generation. If you've ever told your parents that they don't understand you or your friends, so was Fitzgerald in this novel. The writing in "This Side of Paradise" is phenomenal. Fitzgerald uses all different types of medium within the book; a play, a long poem. It is a wonderful display of modernism.

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that novels are intended to be read for pleasure, for enjoyment, for relaxation, for fun. If you didn't like This Side of Paradise you are entitled to your opinion. I'm not at all sure the novel is considered a classic. It is read by many people because they love the writings of the great F. Scott Fitzgerald and can't get enough of him--mainly because there isn't enough of him. It is a great pity that he died at such an early age, because he could have contributed so much more to American literature. He didn't even live to finish The Last Tycoon--so many of his admirers read The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night over and over again, and they will read anything ever written by Fitzgerald, including his early novel This Side of Paradise just because it has a glimmer of his magic touch.

merehughes eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fitzgerald is also one of my favorite authors and I would have to add to the previous response that in addition to the theme of generational conflict, This Side of Paradise also addresses issues of love and relationships, betrayal and despair. These are universal and therefore the story stands the test of time.