The novel provides a portrait of the Eastern elite during the Jazz Age, exploring New York Cafe Society. As with his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters are complex, especially in their marriage and intimacy, much like how he treats intimacy in Tender Is the Night. The book is believed to be largely based on Fitzgerald's relationship and marriage with Zelda Fitzgerald.
"You know these new novels make me tired. My God! Everywhere I go some silly girl asks me if I've read 'This Side of Paradise.' Are our girls really like that? If it's true to life, which I don't believe, the next generation is going to the dogs. I'm sick of all this shoddy realism."
The novel concerns itself with the question of vocation—what does one do with oneself when one has nothing to do? writes Fitzgerald critic West. He says that Fitzgerald was concerned with the question of vocation for men as well as for women. In the novel, Fitzgerald presents Gloria as woman whose vocation is nothing more than to catch a husband. After her marriage to Anthony, Gloria's sole vocation is to slide into indolence and alcoholism; her husband's sole vocation is to wait for his inheritance.
About the Author
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender Is the Night, and his most famous, The Great Gatsby. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with despair and age.