The Impact of Childhood Experiences on Individual Perception of Life: An Analysis

Categories: The Great Gatsby

People’s perception of life is often motivated and influenced greatly by their daily experiences; most of which stem from childhood. Salient issues of; class, inequality, honesty, and morality are often judged based on our formative years. Born on September 24, 1896, in St Paul Minnesota, Francis Scott Fitzgerald attended St Paul’s Academy before proceeding to Princeton University where he dropped out. In 1917, he joined the army. It was while serving there that he met his wife Zelda Sayre and started concentrating on his writing.

He wrote his first novel, This Side of Paradise, in 1920.

This was followed by three other publications, before he wrote, The Great Gatsby. However, it is for his work on The Great Gatsby that he is most remembered for. The Great Gatsby was written at a time when United States was experiencing many changes. It is set in Long Island’s north shore in New York city. America had just emerged from the World War 1, experiencing great economic boom.

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Moreover, women had just been granted the right to vote. At the same same time, African-American form of music,” jazz” was just taking root in America, a fact that prompted Fitzgerald to name the epoch the “jazz age.

” This was also on the background of prohibition of production and sale of alcohol by constitutional amendment. Selecting appropriate title for his book was a very challenging task. Each alternative he had had some sort of appeal. Some of the options he had for his title included, Gold-Hatted Gatsby, On the Road to West Egg, High Bouncing Lover, Trimalchio, and Gatsby, among others.

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He however, finally settled for, Gatsby, after persuasion from his editor, Perkins and his wife. In the novel, Nick, the main character, relocates to New York in pursuit of wealth.

He meets Gatsby, a former lover of his second cousin Daisy who lives in the city too with her husband, Tom. Gatsby is determined to win back Daisy’s love. Tom has an affair with Myrtle, Wilson’s wife. One day, Nick, Jordan and Gatsby are invited by Tom and Daisy to their new home in New York. Gatsby and Daisy can’t hold back their love for each other. This situation breaks Tom. He fights Gatsby and sends them off. This turn of events brighten Gatsby’s face since he has forever nursed the idea of possessing Daisy. Wilson and his wife too have a fight at this time. She runs from her house and is hit by Gatsby’s car; driven by Daisy.

She is killed instantly. Tom later learns that his secret- lover is dead. He tells Wilson that the car belonged to Gatsby. Wilson then goes to Gatsby’s home, kills him and himself too. Nick arranges Gatsby’s funeral, attended by only three people including Gatsby’s father. The main themes explored in those novel are those of Infidelity and deceit. Tom cuts a cross as a moral decadent person; he has an affair with Myrtle, Wilson’s wife. He doest not even try to hide his exploits. At the same time Gatsby is so obsessed with Daisy that he is willing to spend all his fortunes to get her without a care about her marital status.

He believes that the more men a woman dates, the higher her value, "It excited him too that many men had already loved Daisy- it increased her value in his eyes," Dick said (Fitzgerald, pg 148). Gender equality is also illuminated when Daisy says of her daughter, "I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool. " (Fitzgerald, pg 12). She believes boys and men are better than their counterparts. People’s predisposition to lie for survival is emphasized. It is clear that Gatsby only present a fabrication of his real life to the world.

Nick fails to live to his statement that ‘he is one of the most honest people in the world and does not judge others. ’ He judges all and is corrupted by people around him. The novel exemplifies class stratification and ramifications. Nick says about Daisy, "in a moment she looked at me with an absolute smirk on her lovely face as if she had asserted her membership in a rather distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belonged” (Fitzgerald, pg 12).


Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Wordsworth Editions, 1993.

Updated: Apr 29, 2023
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The Impact of Childhood Experiences on Individual Perception of Life: An Analysis. (2016, Oct 08). Retrieved from

The Impact of Childhood Experiences on Individual Perception of Life: An Analysis essay
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