illustrated profiles of Amory and Beatrice Blaine

This Side of Paradise

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Interlude Summary

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In January 1919, Monsignor Darcy writes a letter to Amory, who is now a second lieutenant in the 171st Infantry on Long Island. Monsignor asks Amory only to let him know that he is alive. He also needs to write him to rail against the stupidity of people in wartime. He tells Amory that this war is the end of the world as he knew it. Amory and his generation are growing up much harder than the older generations did. Monsignor confesses to Amory that he has long imagined that Amory is his son. There is so much resemblance between the two of them that Monsignor imagines they are distantly related. Like Amory’s shipping out to Europe, Monsignor is off to Rome. He has written a “keen” for Amory, a lament for the youth that has passed.

On deck of his transport ship, Amory writes a reflection of all the past that is dying. Later, at Brest, he writes to Tom D’Invilliers to arrange a meeting at the end of March 1919 in Manhattan. He plans on getting an apartment with Tom and Alec in New York. He does not know what his plans are, but he is thinking about politics. He muses that in England it is the upper-class men of Oxford and Cambridge who go into politics; in America is the middle classes from the streets. Amory confesses that he sometimes wishes he had been an Englishman. He refers to Beatrice, his mother, as having died. Before her death, she had become more in touch with her religious faith and left half of her money to the Church. The remainder of her fortune is in street railways, which are not faring well.

Amory mentions that Kerry and Jesse were killed in the war, which came as a shock to him. He does not know what has happened to Burne, but he imagines that he might be in some prison under an assumed name. His religious faith has taken a hit, and he has become something of an agnostic. He does not think many men came out of the Great War with their faith in God completely intact.

Amory tells Tom that they and Alec will live the high life in New York. He hopes that something significant happens because he is as restless as the devil and fears getting fat or falling in love or growing domestic in peacetime. He says that he is planning on checking out the family homestead in Lake Geneva to get more details about his inheritance.

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