This Side of Paradise
'This Side of Paradise' Summary
Book One: The Romantic Egotist
Amory Blaine, a young Midwesterner, is convinced that he has an exceptionally promising future. He attends boarding school and later Princeton University. He leaves behind his eccentric mother Beatrice and befriends Monsignor Darcy, a close friend of his mother. While at Princeton he goes back to Minneapolis, where he re-encounters Isabelle Borgé, a young lady whom he had met as a little boy, and starts a romantic relationship with her. At Princeton, he repeatedly writes ever more flowery poems, but Amory and Isabelle become disenchanted with each other after meeting again at his prom.
Following their break-up, Amory is shipped overseas to serve in the army in World War I. (Fitzgerald had been in the army himself, but the war ended while he was stationed on Long Island.) Amory's experiences in the war are not described, other than to say later in the book that he was a bayonet instructor.
Book Two: The Education of a Personage
After the war, Amory falls in love with a New York debutante named Rosalind Connage. Amory writes copy for an advertising agency, but hates his job because he considers himself, as a creative person, too good for it. He goes on an alcoholic bender of about three weeks, during which he quits his job. Meanwhile, money he inherited from his mother is largely lost due to failed investments. Because he is now poor, his relationship with Rosalind collapses as well; she reluctantly informs him that she can no longer see him as she needs to be with a wealthy man. Upon Amory's visit to Maryland, he meets and starts a relationship with an eighteen-year-old woman named Eleanor. After spending a great deal of the summer talking about their love and the seasons, Eleanor's half-suicide attempt leads their romance to spoil. Amory returns to New York, finding out that that Rosalind has officially been engaged to Dawson Ryder, a man of wealth and status. A devastated Amory is further crushed to learn that his mentor Monsignor Darcy has died. Homeless, Amory wanders from New York toward Princeton and, accepting a car ride from a wealthy man, he speaks out in favor of socialism, though he admits he is formulating his thoughts on it as he is talking. The book ends with Amory's iconic lament "I know myself, but that is all-".
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald was born into an upper-middle-class family in St. Paul, Minnesota, but was primarily raised in New York. He attended Princeton University, but due to a failed relationship and a preoccupati...More on F. Scott Fitzgerald
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