10 Things You Didn't Know About The Great Gatsby

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Great Gatsby

Little-known facts about the great American novel and the man who wrote it.

The Great Gatsby... the standing definition of the great American novel, which you were probably forced to read in high school. Here are things you probably didn't know about this classic work of literature, and the man who wrote it.

1. The novel was written in France.

F. Scott Fitzgerald with his wife, Zelda, and their daughter, Scottie, in France, 1924.

The Great Gatsby takes place in New York City in 1922, later called the Roaring Twenties, or the Jazz Age. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel while living on the French Riviera. He moved there with his wife, Zelda, in 1924 for a "change in scenery to spark his creativity" and wrote the novel in only a year. He even alludes to his year in France in the first chapter of The Great Gatsby, while describing Daisy and Tom Buchanan:

"They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together."

2. East Egg and West Egg are apparently based off of towns in Connecticut.

Fitzgerald and Zelda outside their home in Connecticut, 1920.

After their marriage, Fitzgerald and his wife lived in the town of Westport, Connecticut for only six months. A theory stands that Fitzgerald named the fictional locations East Egg and West Egg on Long Island after the nearby Connecticut towns of Weston and Easton. In the town of Westport however, where the Fitzgeralds lived for six months, there is a intersection at Weston Road and Easton Road. The road sign at this intersection could also be the inspiration for East and West Egg.

3. The book didn't become wildly popular until after Fitzgerald's death.

Fitzgerald's most famous work did not receive the worldwide recognition it deserved until after his death in 1940. While he was alive, the book was largely considered a failure.

4. The Great Gatsby was not the book that earned Fitzgerald fame and fortune.

Fitzgerald with his daughter,1933.

Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise, was published in 1920, and was a huge commercial success, earning him fame, fortune, and access to the wealthy lifestyle depicted in The Great Gatsby. In fact, The Great Gatsby earned him less than $9,000 in his life.

5. His money is what won him his wife.

Fitzgerald and Zelda on their wedding day, 1920.

Fitzgerald enthusiastically competed for the attention of Zelda Sayre, a wealthy, popular "flapper girl." Fitzgerald proposed in 1919, but she denied him, claiming he did not have enough money to support her. It wasn't until the spring of 1920, when This Side of Paradise was published, and Fitzgerald became rich practically overnight, that he finally won her heart. They married exactly one week after the book was published, at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Fitzgerald was 23 years old; Zelda was only 19.

6. The love affair between Gatsby and Daisy is somewhat based on Fitzgerald's marriage.

Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) in the 2013 film.

Fitzgerald's marriage was troubled by multiple affairs, and Zelda's mental illnesses. Raging jealousy was the result. Zelda apparently accused her husband of cheating on her with his dear friend, Ernest Hemingway.

7. While Gatsby's mansion was fictional, the inspiration for it came from the Beacon Towers mansion on Long Island.

Beacon Towers in Sands Point, Long Island, in 1927.

This waterfront mansion was built on Sands Point in 1917, and was sold to William Randolph Hearst. Baz Luhrmann, who directed the 2013 film The Great Gatsby, visited Sands Point and looked at the luxurious homes in the area as research for Gatsby's mansion.

8. Fitzgerald was related to American royalty.

Fitzgerald as a young boy, with his father, Edward, circa 1900.

The F. in F. Scott Fitzgerald's name stands for Francis. His full name given at birth was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, named after his cousin, Francis Scott Key, who wrote the "Star Spangled Banner."

9. Both Fitzgerald and Zelda died young.

Fitzgerald and his Zelda are buried together in Maryland. The infamous final sentence of the novel is engraved where they are buried.

Zelda suffered from mental illness, including schizophrenia and manic depression. She had multiple mental breakdowns and was in and out of mental hospitals, which put quite the strain on their marriage.

Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in 1940 at the age of 44. Zelda died eight years later at 47 years old. She was treated with electroshock therapy at a mental institution in North Carolina, and was strapped down to a table, awaiting the electroshock treatment, one day when a fire broke out in the hospital. She, among many other women, died in the fire.

10. The book's dedication page has become iconic.

The Great Gatsby's dedication page reads, "Once again, to Zelda." This phrase inspired a 2008 book titled, Once Again to Zelda: The Stories Behind Literature's Most Intriguing Dedications by Marlene Wagman-Geller.

Cover Image Credit: New York Post

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7 Famous Authors As Your Man Crush Monday

Ever wondered what Ernest Hemingway would be like if he has your #mcm?

Even though Mondays are literally the worst day of the week, they do have one thing going for them; Man Crush Monday! It is social media tradition to post your #mcm and usually it's either your significant other, or Jason Momoa, but what about... authors?

So here they are; your favorite authors as your #mcm.


1. F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald as an #mcm can be good or bad. The good part is that you will be his muse, he'll write all his Facebook posts about you, and he will buy you copious amounts of absinthe. The bad news is that he will steal all your memes (and take credit) and he might low-key call you crazy to his bro, Ernest Hemingway.

Probably listens to EDM.

2. Ernest Hemingway

Okay, Ernest Hemingway as your Man Crush Monday is just a bad idea all around. First, he'll write vague tweets about his love for you. But then he won't like any of your posts, he'll leave your messages on "read," but at least you'll live in Paris. He is the tortured soul that listens to Twenty-One Pilots. Claims to be a hippie but really, I mean, really loves to hunt.

Oh yeah, and he probably looks at older women too.


3. Nathaniel Hawthorne

Most likely has an obsession with witches, don't ask him about his hometown OR family, and probably was a goth kid in middle school. Introvert rich kid that probably doesn't like social media too much, he won't be taking snaps of you all day but will want to watch horror movie marathons. 10/10 would recommend as #mcm.


4. Ray Bradbury

He'll take you on bookshop dates but you'll get stuck in the sci-fi section of Barnes and Noble. This #mcm is the one every parent loves, is an all-around nice guy, and gets sucked into subreddits for hours. Might have strong opinions on artificial intelligence and televisions sets but won't text other girls back.

5. Hunter S. Thompson

Is the type of #mcm that will pick you in a convertible, drive through the desert, and will probably get visited by aliens. Your parents won't appreciate his... recreational activities and Hell's Angels probably has beef with him as well. Definitely falls onto the bad boy section of the Man Crush spectrum.


6. John Steinbeck

Totally boyfriend material. Vacations in Russia, farmers market every Saturday, and will want to go record shopping. He has that '90s-grunge, lead singer look going for him and that's how he made this list. Loves talking about the Dust Bowl upon meeting your parents.


7. Edgar Allan Poe


PLOT TWIST. John Cusack version of Edgar Allan Poe. Hasn't outgrown his goth phase, will buy you roses and cognac, and texts you long poems every morning. Appears to be angry for no reason. And watch out for his cousin...





Cover Image Credit: Nerd League

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"The Greatest Showman" Is Truly The Greatest, And Here's Why

You should go watch it right now. Like RIGHT now. No seriously...now.

A new year brings a new musical, and you know how we all love musicals. "The Greatest Showman" outlines the life and times of circus legend Phineas T. Barnum and his band of sideshow acts. Containing a mixture of contemporary music and historical settings, this movie holds itself to an extremely high standard, and I might even dare to say it exceeds any expectations I could've had.

*Spoiler Alert* If you haven't watched "The Greatest Showman," and you want to, just know I'm going to spoil everything for you in the rest of this article.

The movie outlines P.T. Barnum's life -- from his poor, wretched childhood to his stardom and fame. He begins as a poor tailor's boy who finds himself in a lot of trouble with his father's client for distracting his daughter from her etiquette lessons.

Little did they know, the two would fall in love and move away from her life of luxury and his life of turmoil. They didn't have much, but they were happy. They shared a love and two beautiful daughters, and that's all they needed... until P.T. lost his job.

He ended up gambling property that he didn't even have to obtain a loan from the bank to buy estate in New York and set up his new museum. But customers were not biting at the prospect of wax figures, so he went out and found what we now know as sideshow acts to create a living, breathing show.

His performers finally felt accepted, loved, and appreciated. He even took on an apprentice, Phillip Carlisle, to help him run the show. And it worked at first, until unruly and judgmental townsfolk caught wind of the show and began to riot.

P.T. lost his way in the process -- through fortune and fame his ego began to grow and his acceptance for his performers began to dim. He and his performers were invited to Buckingham Palace to perform for Queen Victoria when he met superstar European singer, Jenny Lind, and took her for an American tour that would assure both him and her fame and prominence in the American theatre circuit.

This ended very badly when Jenny began to obtain feelings for P.T., and he did not reciprocate due to being married. She ruined him by kissing him on stage and tarnishing his reputation. Then the thugs burned down his building... it all starts going downhill from here.

P.T. finally comes to his senses and realizes that his performers are not just some sideshow acts that can be mistreated and thrown to the side. They gave him everything. He realizes this finally that they have become a family, and some have even fallen in love (cough cough Anne Wheeler and Phillip Carlisle).

Phillip and P.T. go in 50/50 on a new business venture, and begin the iconic tent circus on the beach that we all know and love.

The storyline is a real underdog tale -- coming from nothing to something. However, it shows the truth about how fame can go to your head. It shows how one can be swept up in wealth and fortune and forget about the people involved. I'm personally glad the film makers added this element into the story, so that viewers get the gist of how money can change a person.

And let me just say, the soundtrack is everything. Even though it's a more modern twist on music, it's show stopping. At first, I was turned off by the idea that such an old setting could be incorporated with new music, but it actually really works. The songs are heart wrenching, emotional, and beautiful. They work perfectly.

So basically, thank you to anyone involved in this beautiful musical. Your contributions have changed my life.

And Keala Settle is an underrated singer that needs more publicity, because what a powerhouse.


Cover Image Credit: IndieWire

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