11 June 2012

This Side of Paradise...

I recently read "This Side of Paradise" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He is one of my favorite authors of all time. I love the way he can draw you into the minds of his characters by weaving together the emotions, actions, thoughts, and descriptions of a scene in long sentences. Don't get me wrong, I am also a big fan of short, straightforward writing like that of Hemingway, but I feel that the beauty of long sentences has been lost in today's society that values the brevity seen in things like text messages, Facebook, and Twitter posts.

Another reason I love Fitzgerald is his ability to express the struggles of the Lost Generation. The young men who were sent to fight in World War I struggled immensely with the loss of values. Fitzgerald captures these sentiments in his characters' relationships with women, hardships in occupations, and internal battles. Here is an example from "This Side of Paradise."

"He was in an eddy again, a deep, lethargic gulf, without desire to work or write, love or dissipate. For the first time in his life he rather longed for death to roll over his generation, obliterating their petty fevers and struggles and exultations. His youth seemed never so vanished as now in the contrast between the utter loneliness of this visit and that riotous, joyful party of four years before. Things that had been the merest commonplaces of his life then, deep sleep, the sense of beauty around him, all desire, had flown away and the gaps they left were filled only with the great listlessness of his dillusion" (228).

Read the book for more lovely writing!
I also HIGHLY recommend "The Great Gatsby," "The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald," and especially "The Beautiful and Damned."

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