This Side of Paradise

This Side of Paradise is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Published in 1920, it is a semi-autobiographical work that follows Amory Blaine from childhood to the end of college, and in so doing examines the new generation that emerged from the shadow of World War I. Fitzgerald’s first novel, it brought him immediate fame and skyrocketed him to success at the young age of 24. The title is taken from a line of Rupert Brook’s poem Tiare Tahiti.1

Summary

For a detailed breakdown of the action in each chapter, click here.

Publication History

This Side of Paradise was first published by Scribner’s on March 26, 1920.

Structure

The novel is divided into two books with an interlude in between, breaking down as follows:

  • Book One – The Romantic Egotist
    1. Amory, Son of Beatrice
    2. Spires and Gargoyles
    3. The Egotist Considers
    4. Narcissus Off Duty

[Interlude: May, 1917-February, 1919.]

  • Book Two – The Education of a Personage
    1. The Debutante
    2. Experiments in Convalescence
    3. Young Irony
    4. The Egotist Becomes a Personage

Locations

The novel mainly takes place in the following locations:

  • Minnesota
  • Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
  • Alabama
  • New York
  • Baltimore, Maryland

List of characters

The following is a list of characters in order of appearance:

  • Beatrice O’Hara Blaine – Amory’s mother, from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Educated at a convent in Rome.
  • Stephen Blaine – Amory’s father, rich at the age of 30 because of the death of two older brothers.
  • Amory Blaine – Auburn hair and green eyes. Born in the spring of 1896, an only child. Receives a high education from traveling with his mother at a young age, comes to feel himself superior when he is a teenager.
  • Monsignor Thayer Darcy – He knew Mrs. Blaine when they were young. Went to Harrow, then Yale and became a Catholic. Aged 44 when he meets Amory, “a trifle too stout for symmetry, with hair the color of spun gold, and a brilliant, enveloping personality.”
  • Myra St. Clair – Girl Amory knows from dancing school, they have a crush on each other, yellow hair.
  • Rahill – Amory’s friend and “co-philosopher” at St. Regis. President of the sixth form.
  • Kerry Holiday – The first person that Amory meets at Princeton, also lives at 12 University Place. Described as having “a slim face with gray eyes and a humorous smile.” They quickly become good friends.
  • Burne Holiday – Kerry’s brother, also lives at 12 University Place. Described as “fair-haired, silent, and intent.” He goes out for the Princetonian but gets sick and loses out.
  • Alec Connage – “A quiet, rather aloof slicker from Hotchkiss, who lived next door.”
  • Thomas Parke D’Invilliers – A poet with little interest in the social system of Princeton, has a “cracked, kindly voice” and “large spectacles.” Inspires Amory to pursue literary efforts.
  • Isabelle Borge – 16 years old, the cousin of Sally Weatherby, has an intense physical magnetism.
  • Dick Humbird – Classmate of Amory’s. Liked by everybody, people emulate him. Is “slender but well-built – black curly hair, straight features, and rather dark skin.” Possesses “infinite courage, and averagely good mind, and a sense of honor.”
  • Clara Page – Amory’s third cousin who lives in Philadelphia. They are about the same age. She has been widowed six months at the time they meet. She has two small children, “ripply golden hair” and “steely blue eyes.” He finds her an excellent conversationalist.
  • Cecelia Connage – Alec’s younger sister, 16.
  • Rosalind Connage – Alec’s younger sister, 19. It is her coming out week when she is introduced. Loves men, despises women. Has a strong personality and is beautiful. “She wants what she wants when she wants it and is prone to make everyone around her pretty miserable when she doesn’t get it.”
  • Howard Gillespie – “A vapid youth of about twenty-four.” In love with Rosalind, she not interested.
  • Dawson Ryder – “Twenty-six, handsome, wealthy, faithful to his own, a bore perhaps, but steady and sure of success.” In love with Rosalind. She is not in love with him, but is fond of him, and desires the money and security that marrying him would bring.
  • Eleanor Savage – Raised in France by her mother who has since died, she now lives with her grandfather in the Maryland countryside. 18, part of an old family of Ramilly County.

Quotes

For quotes from this book see This Side of Paradise quotes

Cultural Impact

This Side of Paradise gave a voice to the World War I generation that had been lacking in the popular press.

See also

External links

References

  1. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. This Side of Paradise. New York: Penguin Books, 1996.
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