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.
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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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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