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.
944
views

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

Popular Right Now

What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
449203
views

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Poetry on Odyssey: Roots

I wanna know you more than anyone knows you.

96
views

I wanna know why you change the station when that song plays

I wanna know who made you afraid to love

I wanna know the biggest mistake you ever made

I wanna know the craziest dream you've ever dreamed up

I wanna know why you dont talk to your mama

I wanna know the story behind the scar below your ear

I wanna know who you turn to to escape all of your problems

I wanna know what brings you to tears

I wanna know you deeper than your surface

I wanna know where your darkness lurks

I wanna know your heart's purpose

I wanna know why you quit coming to church

I wanna know you more than anyone knows you

I wanna know you from your leaves to your roots


Originally posted on my blog, Rithimus Poeta. (Rithimuspoeta.blogspot.com)

Related Content

Facebook Comments