They say that art imitates life…or life imitates art. Either one is somewhat hard to believe. A few brushes of a paintbrush on a canvas, a mirror image on the film of a camera, or even a special combination of the 26 letters of the alphabet onto a page—imitating life? Of course, people can paint life, or take pictures of life, and even write about life. It’s a bit more obvious that the concept of life imitating art is a bit harder to believe. But you can learn from art—especially from the literary art. Books are teachers that you can become. When making art, you put a bit of yourself into it—it becomes a bit of you, and you become a bit of it. You can read about characters, fictional or otherwise, and want to be them. You place yourself in their shoes and learn from their mistakes and you inevitably become them for a little bit. When art imitates life, life in turn imitates art. Art imitating life is so common; we hardly ever point it out. We notice a few lives quite clearly through a self-portrait, a song, or even a book. Sometimes it isn’t as intentional as the artist meant it to be. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses events from his life so thoroughly in his novel, The Great Gatsby, leading us to believe he wrote the novel as a sort of autobiography emphasizing his interesting life and his relationship with his wife.
Fitzgerald was ambitious at a young age, and seemed to always know he’d have a place in the world. As described in PBS’s biography of Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, September 24th, 1896, his father a failed wicker furniture salesman and his mother an Irish immigrant by the name of Mary (Mollie) McQuillan with a large inheritance (PBS). In St. Paul, the family lived comfortably on Mollie’s inheritanc…
…ing romance and first years as newlyweds immortalized into the pages of one of Fitzgerald’s most iconic novels. Fitzgerald’s unique writing style of fictionalizing real events that happened in his past gives his writing more enthusiasm and flavor comparatively to some writers.
Baughman, Judith S. “Art Imitating Life in Fitzgerald’s Novels.” Art Imitating Life in Fitzgerald’s Novels. The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina, 4 Dec. 2003. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Bruccoli, Matthew J. “A Brief Life of Fitzgerald.” Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald. The F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, 2009. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.
PBS. “F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American Dream & Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Artist, Writer, Dancer and Wife.” PBS. The Public Broadcasting System, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.