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10. Final Analysis: And He Lived Pessimistically Ever After...

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
Famous for: Wild parties, loads of cocktails, the green light at the end of the dock, a hit-and-run that ends it all.

Just about any writing teacher will tell you to “Write what you know.” In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote what he knew: The excess and corruption of his time. It’s impossible to read Gatsby as something other than a cautionary tale. In short, Fitzgerald seems to say to his readers, “Do what I say, not what I did.”

 

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