Eliot, by declaring it "a masterpiece," 3 struck the novel certainly its most fateful and possibly its most fatal blow. Trilling's and Eliot's resounding endorsements provided Huck with the academic respectability and clout that assured his admission into America's classrooms. Huck's entrenchment in the English curricula of junior and senior high schools coincided with Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education, the Supreme Court case that ended public school segregation, legally if not actually, in Desegregation and the civil rights movement deposited Huck in the midst of American literature classes which were no longer composed of white children only, but now were dotted with black youngsters as well.
In the faces of these children of the revolution, Huck met the group that was to become his most persistent and formidable foe. For while the objections of the Gilded Age, of fundamentalist religious factions, and of unreconstructed Southerners had seemed laughable and transitory, the indignation of black students and their parents at the portrayal of blacks in Huck Finn was not at all comical and has not been short-lived.
The presence of black students in the classrooms of white America the attendant tensions of a country attempting to come to terms with its racial tragedies, and the new empowerment of blacks to protest led to Huck Finn's greatest struggle with censorship and banning. Though blacks may have previously complained about the racially offensive tone of the novel, it was not until September that the New York Times reported the first case that brought about official reaction and obtained public attention for the conflict.
The book was no longer available for classroom use at the elementary and junior high school levels, but could be taught in high school and purchased for school libraries. Though the Board of Education acknowledged no outside pressure to ban the use of Huck Finn , a representative of one publisher said that school officials had cited "some passages derogatory to Negroes" as the reason for its contract not being renewed. The NAACP, denying that it had placed any organized pressure on the board to remove Huck Finn, nonetheless expressed displeasure with the presence of "racial slurs" and "belittling racial designations" in many of Twain's works.
The discontent with the racial attitudes of Huck Finn that began in has surfaced periodically over the past thirty years. In the Philadelphia Board of Education, after removing Huck Finn, replaced it with an adapted version which "tone[d] down the violence, simplify[d] the Southern dialect, and delete[d] all derogatory references to Negroes. A decision by the school's principal to yield to the Human Relations Committee's recommendations was later overridden by the superintendent of schools. Since the Fairfax County incident, he has appeared on ABC's "Nightline" and CNN's "Freeman Reports" and has traveled the country championing the cause of black children who he says are embarrassed and humiliated by the legitimization of "nigger" in public schools.
Devoted to the eradication of Huck Finn from the schools, he has "authored" an adapted version of Twain's story. To condemn concerns about the novel as the misguided rantings of "know nothings and noise makers" 11 is no longer valid or profitable; nor can the invocation of Huck's immunity under the protectorate of "classic" suffice. Such academic platitudes no longer intimidate, nor can they satisfy, parents who have walked the halls of the university and have shed their awe of academe. If the academic establishment remains unmoved by black readers' dismay, the news that Huck Finn ranks ninth on the list of thirty books most frequently challenged 12 should serve as testimony that the book's "racial problem" is one of more consequence than the ancillary position to which scholars have relegated it.
The debate surrounding the racial implications of Huck Finn and its appropriateness for the secondary school classroom gives rise to myriad considerations. The actual matter and intent of the text are a source of contention. The presence of the word "nigger," the treatment of Jim and blacks in general, the somewhat difficult satiric mode, and the ambiguity of theme give pause to even the most flexible reader.
Moreover, as numerous critics have pointed out, neither junior high nor high school students are necessarily flexible or subtle readers.
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The very profundity of the text renders the process of teaching it problematic and places special emphasis on teacher ability and attitude. Student cognitive and social maturity also takes on special significance in the face of such a complicated and subtle text. The nature of the complexities of Huck Finn places the dynamics of the struggle for its inclusion in or exclusion from public school curricula in two arenas. Public school administrators and teachers, on the other hand, field criticisms that have to do with the context into which the novel is introduced.
In neither case, however, do the opponents appear to hear each other. Too often, concerned parents are dismissed by academia as "neurotics" 14 who have fallen prey to personal racial insecurities or have failed to grasp Twain's underlying truth. In their turn, censors regard academics as inhabitants of ivory towers who pontificate on the virtue of Huck Finn without recognizing its potential for harm. School officials and parents clash over the school's right to intellectual freedom and the parents' right to protect their children from perceived racism.
Critics vilify Twain most often and most vehemently for his aggressive use of the pejorative term "nigger. Reading Huck Finn aloud adds deliberate insult to insensitive injury, complain some. Ballard recalls his reaction to having Huck Finn read aloud "in a predominantly white junior high school in Philadelphia some 30 years ago. I can still recall the anger I felt as my white classmates read aloud the word "nigger. I wanted to sink into my seat.
Some of the whites snickered, others giggled.
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I can recall nothing of the literary merits of this work that you term "the greatest of all American novels. Moreover, the presentation of the novel as an "American classic" serves as an official endorsement of a term uttered by the most prejudiced racial bigots to an age group eager to experiment with any language of shock value.
Some who have followed Huck Finn's racial problems express dismay that some blacks misunderstand the ironic function Twain assigned "nigger" or that other blacks, inspite of their comprehension of the irony, will allow themselves and their progeny to be defeated by a mere pejorative. Hentoff believes that confronting, Huck will give students "the capacity to see past words like 'nigger'. What a way to get Huck and Jim, on the one hand, and all those white racists they meet. Talk about a book coming alive! Look at that Huck Finn. Reared in racism, like all the white kids in his town.
What a book for the children, all the children, in Warrington, Pennsylvania, in ! Nigger is "fightin" words and everyone in this country, black and white, knows it. The word nigger to colored people of high and low degree is like a red rag to a bull. Used rightly or wrongly, ironically or seriously, of necessity for the sake of realism, or impishly for the sake of comedy, it doesn't matter. Negroes do not like it in any book or play whatsoever, be the book or play ever so sympathetic in its treatment of the basic problems of the race.
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Even though the book or play is written by a Negro, they still do not like it. The word nigger, you see, sums up for us who are colored all the bitter years of insult and struggle in America. Nonblacks know implicitly that to utter "nigger" in the presence of a Negro is to throw down a gauntlet that will be taken up with a vengeance. It conjures centuries of specifically black degradation and humiliation during which the family was disintegrated, education was denied, manhood was trapped within a forced perpetual puerilism, and womanhood was destroyed by concubinage.
If one grants that Twain substituted "nigger" for "slave," the implications of the word do not improve; "nigger" denotes the black man as a commodity, as chattel. Currently, it is the chief taunt of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups. To counteract the Pavlovian response that "nigger" triggers for many black readers, some scholars have striven to reveal the positive function the word serves in the novel by exposing the discrepancy between the dehumanizing effect of the word and the real humanity Of Jim.
However, Fiedler's focus on this dialogue is to the point, because racial objectors isolate it as one of the most visible and detrimental slurs of the novel. The highlighting of this passage summons contrasting perspectives on it. Kaplan argues that "one has to be deliberately dense to miss the point Mark Twain is making here and to construe such passages as evidences of his 'racism.
In order to believe in Twain's satirical intention, one has to believe in Huck's good faith toward Jim. There is no denying the rightness of Huck's decision to risk his soul for Jim. But there is no tangible reason to assume that the regard Huck acquires for Jim during his odyssey down the river is generalized to encompass all blacks. Further, Huck's choice to "go to hell" has little to do with any respect he has gained for Jim as a human being with an inalienable right to be owned by no one. Rather, his personal affection for the slave governs his overthrow of societal mores.
It must be remembered that Huck does not adjudge slavery to be wrong; he selectively disregards a system that he ultimately believes is right. So when he discourses with Aunt Sally, he is expressing views he still holds. His emancipatory attitudes extend no further than his love for Jim. It seems valid to argue that were he given the option of freeing other slaves, Huck would not necessarily choose manumission.
Like the concept "nigger," Twain's depiction of blacks, particularly Jim, represents the tendency of the dominant white culture to saddle blacks with traits that deny their humanity and mark them as inferior. Critics disparage scenes that depict blacks as childish, inherently less intelligent than whites, superstitious beyond reason and common sense, and grossly ignorant of standard English.
Further, they charge that in order to entertain his white audience, Twain relied upon the stock conventions of "black minstrelsy," which "drew upon European traditions of using the mask of blackness to mock individuals or social forces. Critics express their greatest displeasure with Twain's presentation of Jim, the runaway slave viewed by most as second only to Huck in importance to the novel's thematic structure.
Although he is the catalyst that spurs Huck along his odyssey of conscience, Jim commences the novel and to some degree remains as the stereotypical, superstitious "darky" that Twain's white audience would have expected and in which they would have delighted.
Though Twain does strike Jim in the mold of the minstrel tradition, Ellison believes that we observe "Jim's dignity and human capacity" emerge from "behind this stereotype mask. For instance, Huck's and Jim's debate about French chap. Some view Twain's depiction of Jim early in the novel as the necessary backdrop against which Huck's gradual awareness of Jim's humanity is revealed.
These early renditions of Jim serve more to lay bare Huck's initial attitudes toward race and racial relations than they do to characterize Jim, positively or negatively. As the two fugitives ride down the Mississippi deeper and deeper into slave territory, the power of Jim's personality erodes the prejudices Huck's culture educational, political, social, and legal has instilled.
Such readings of passages that appear to emphasize Jim's superstitions, gullibility, or foolishness allow Twain to escape the charge of racism and be seen as championing blacks by exposing the falseness of stereotypes. This view of Twain's motivation is evident in letters written to the New York Times in protest of the New York City Board of Education's decision to ban the book in Of all the characters in Mark Twain's works there probably wasn't any of whom he was fonder than the one that went down the river with Huck Finn.
It is true that this character is introduced as "Miss Watson's big nigger, named Jim. But from there on to the end of the story Miss Watson's Jim is a warm human being, lovable and admirable. Now, Huckleberry Finn Huck begins by regarding Jim, the fugitive slave, very much as the juvenile delinquents of Little Rock regard the Negro today. Gradually, however, he discovers that Jim, despite the efforts of society to brutalize him, is a noble human being who deserves his protection, friendship, and respect.
This theme of growing love is made clear throughout the book. In another vein, some defenders of Twain's racial sensitivities assign Jim's initial portrayal a more significant role than mere backdrop. The rubric of "performed ideology" frames Steven Mailloux's interpretation of Jim as he appears in the early "philosophical debates" with Huck. In fact, the success of the ideological drama depends upon the reader's participation: "The humor and often the ideological point of the novel's many staged arguments Huck's disdainful comment that "you can't learn a nigger to argue" renders the debate little more than a literary version of a minstrel dialogue unless readers recognize the superior rhetorician: "Of course, readers reject the racist slur as a rationalization.
They know Huck gives up because he has lost the argument: it is precisely because Jim has learned to argue by imitating Huck that he reduces his teacher to silence. Far from demonstrating Jim's inferior knowledge, the debate dramatizes his argumentative superiority, and in doing so makes a serious ideological point through a rhetoric of humor. Most view Twain's depiction of Jim as an ironic attempt to transcend the very prejudices that dissidents accuse him of perpetuating.
Most see the closing sequence, which begins at Huck's encounter with Aunt Sally, as a reversal of any moral intention that the preceding chapters imply. The particular offensiveness to blacks of the closing sequence of Huckleberry Finn results in part from expectations that Twain has built up during the raft ride down the river. No one can deny the manly indignation evinced by Jim when Huck attempts to convince him that he has only dreamed their separation during the night of the heavy fog.
Huck himself is so struck by Jim's passion that he humbles himself "to a nigger" and "warn't ever sorry for it afterwards" chap. From this point, the multidimensionality of Jim's personality erodes Huck's socialized attitudes about blacks. During the night, thinking that Huck is asleep, Jim vents the adult frustrations he does not expect Huck to understand or alleviate; he laments having to abandon his wife and two children: "Po' little Lizbeth!
Po' little Johnny! It's might hard; I spec' I ain't ever gwyne to see you no mo', no mo"' chap. Through such poignant moments Huck learns, to his surprise, that Jim "cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their'n. It don't seem natural, but I reckon it's so" chap. Finally, in the welcome absence of Pap, Jim becomes a surrogate father to Huck, allowing the boy to sleep when he should stand watch on the raft, giving him the affection his natural father did not, and making sure that the raft is stocked and hidden.
Thus Twain allows Jim to blossom into a mature, complex human being whom Huck admires and respects. The fullness of character with which Twain imbues Jim compels Huck to "decide, forever, betwixt two things. Having thus tantalized readers with the prospect of harmonious relations between white and black, Twain seems to turn on his characters and his audience.
Eliot, Mr. Trilling, and Huckleberry Finn," describes it as a glaring lapse "of moral vision" resulting from Twain's inability to "acknowledge the truth his novel contained. Clemens has simply made the issues too serious for us to accept a return to the boyhood world of the novel's opening.
We are asked to forget Huck's process of moral education, his growing awareness of Jim's value as a human being. Similarly, we are asked to forget Jim's nobility, revealed to us repeatedly in the escape down the river. At the end Jim is free and considers himself rich, and Huck is left to pursue further adventures in the Territory. By this view, Twain's apparent abandonment of Huck's reformation and Jim's quest for freedom constitutes an absolute betrayal, Consequently, any redemptive racial attitudes that Twain has displayed earlier are nullified; his final portrait of Jim appears sinister and malicious.
Scholars have attempted to read the evasion sequence in ways that would make it palatable by placing it in sync with the preceding chapters. In just such an attempt to render the last ten chapters less irksome, James M. Our moral sentiment, explains Cox, 41 leads us to misconstrue Twain's intent and to declare the ending a failure.
Twain does not, as most believe, lose courage and fail to carry through with his indictment of the racial attitudes of the Old South. On the contrary, the closing sequence returns the novel and Huck to Twain's true central meaning. According to Cox, "the deep wish which Huckleberry Finn embodies" is "the wish for freedom from any conscience.
It is this adherence to the pleasure principle that defines Huck's identity and governs his actions toward Jim, not a racial enlightenment, as we would hope. The moment at which Huck forsakes the pleasure principle and of which we most approve marks the point at which his identity and Twain's central focus, according to Cox, are in the most jeopardy: "In the very act of choosing to go to hell he has surrendered to the notion of a principle of right and wrong. He has forsaken the world of pleasure to make a moral choice.
Given this, to declare Twain's ending a failure is to deny his actual thematic intent and to increase our discomfort with the concluding segments. Cox's argument demonstrates the ingenious lengths to which scholars go to feel comfortable with the final chapters of Huck Finn. Regardless of Twain's motivation or intent, Jim does deflate and climb back into the minstrel costume. Considering the perplexity of the evasion brings us back full circle to Huckleberry Finn's suitability for public schools. Given the powerlessness of highly discerning readers to resolve the novel in a way that unambiguously redeems Jim or Huck, how can students be expected to fare better with the novel's conclusion?
Parents question the advisability o f teaching to junior and senior high school students a text which requires such sophisticated interpretation in order for its moral statements to come clear. Parents fear that the more obvious negative aspects of Jim's depiction may overshadow the more subtle uses to which they are put.
Critics such as Mailloux point to the reader as the component necessary to obviate the racism inherent in, for example, the interchange between Aunt Sally and Huck. This likely possibility causes parents to be hesitant about approving Huck Finn for the classroom. Huck Finn apologists view the objection to the novel on the ground of students' cognitive immaturity as an underestimation of youngsters' abilities.
As Cox's and Mailloux's articles show, the points of the novel are anything but "as big as barn doors. That Huckleberry Finn brims with satire and irony is a truism of academic discourse. But a study conducted in to examine "the effects of reading Huckleberry Finn on the racial attitudes of ninth grade students" corroborates the contention that junior high school students lack the critical perception to successfully negotiate the satire present in the novel. According to the committee that directed the study, the collected data indicated "that the elements of satire which are crucial to an understanding of the novel go largely unobserved by students.
Given the degree and instances of irony and satire in the book, the difficult dialects and general reading level of the book, and the tendency of many students to read the book at the level of an adventure story, the committee believes, the novel requires more literary sophistication than can reasonably be expected from an average ninth grade student.
Though the Penn State study does not support parents' calls for total removal of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the curriculum, it does validate their reservations about the presence of the work at the junior high level. The volatile combination of satire, irony, and questions of race underscores an additional important facet of the controversy: teacher ability and attitude.
The position of the classroom teacher in the conflict over Huckleberry Finn is delicate: students not only look to teachers as intellectual mentors, but turn to them for emotional and social guidance as well. So in addition to ensuring that students traverse the scholarly territory that the curriculum requires, teachers must guarantee that students complete the journey with their emotional beings intact. The tenuous status of race relations in the United States complicates the undertaking of such an instructional unit. Cox, despite his affection for the novel and his libertarian views, admits that were he "teaching an American literature course in Bedford Stuyvesant or Watts or North Philadelphia," he might choose Twain texts other than Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Those who want the "classic" expelled dread the occurrence of incidents such as the one described by Hentoff on ABC'S "Nightline. The "inherent threat" of Huckleberry Finn is that in the hands of an unfit, uncommitted teacher it can become a tool of oppression and harmful indoctrination.
Assuming the inverse to be equally possible, a competent, racially accepting educator could transform the potential threat into a challenge. Huckleberry Finn presents the secondary teacher with a vehicle to effect powerful, positive interracial exchange among students. Scout, along with her older brother Jem and playmate Dill, observes the horrors of racial prejudice as they are played out in the trial of a black man, Tom Robinson, wrongfully accused of rape by a white woman.
My rationale for forcing the word into active class discourse proceeded from my belief that students black and white could only face sensitive issues of race after they had achieved a certain emotional distance from the rhetoric of race. I thought and became convinced over the years that open confrontation in the controlled setting of the classroom could achieve that emotional distance. When Atticus learns of the fray, Scout asks if he is a "nigger lover. I try to love everybody.
As the reality of racial discomfort and mistrust cast its shadow over the classroom, the tension would become almost palpable. Unable to utter the taboo word "nigger," students would be paralyzed, the whites by their social awareness of the moral injunction against it and the blacks by their heightened sensitivity to it. Slowly, torturously, the wall of silence would begin to crumble before students' timid attempts to approach the topic with euphemism.
Finally, after some tense moments, one courageous adolescent would utter the word. The interracial understanding fostered by this careful, enlightened study of To Kill a Mockingbird can, I think, be achieved with a similar approach to Huckleberry Finn. It must be understood, on the other hand, that the presence of incompetent, insensitive, or sometimes unwittingly, sometimes purposefully bigoted instructors in the public schools is no illusion. Further, "black students tended to identify more strongly and more positively with other members of their race" as a result of having studied Huckleberry Finn.
For white students, reading the novel "reduce[d] hostile or unfavorable feelings toward members of another race and increase[d] favorable feelings toward members of another race" emphasis added. Students who read the novel under a teacher's guidance showed "Significantly greater positive change" than those students who read the novel on their own. Our data indicate that students who read the novel as part of an instructional unit demonstrated both a deeper sensitivity to the moral and psychological issues central to the novel a number of which deal with issues of race and a more positive attitude on matters calling for racial understanding and acceptance.
These students were also able to interpret the novel with greater literary sophistication than those students who read the novel without instruction. Additionally, these students were significantly more accepting of contacts with Blacks than were the other students involved in the study. Based on these studies completed eleven years apart I and , it appears that in the right circumstances Huckleberry Finn can be taught without perpetuating negative racial attitudes in white students or undermining racial pride in black students. One has only to run a mental scan across the nation's news headlines to glean a portrait of the present state of American race relations.
Such a glimpse betrays the ambivalence present in the status of blacks and their relations with whites. In "Breaking the Silence," a powerful statement on the plight of the "black underclass," Pete Hamill delineates the duality of the American black experience. Admitting the dismal reality of continued racist behavior, Hamill cites "the antibusing violence in liberal Boston, the Bernhard Goetz and Howard Beach cases in liberal New York, [and] a some places.
Hamill's article points to a fundamental fissure in the American psyche when it comes to race. Further, these details suggest that the teaching of Twain's novel may not be the innocent pedagogical endeavor that we wish it to be. When we move from the context into which we want to deposit Huckleberry Finn and consider the nature of the text and its creator, matter becomes even more entangled. Though devotees love to praise Huckleberry Finn as "a savage indictment of a society that accepted slavery as a way of life" 55 or "the deadliest satire First, the ambiguities of the novel are multiple.
The characterization of Jim is a string of inconsistencies. At one point he is the superstitious darky; at another he is the indulgent surrogate father. On the one hand, his desire for freedom is unconquerable; on the other, he submits it to the ridiculous antics of a child. Further, while Jim flees from slavery and plots to steal his family out of bondage, most other slaves in the novel embody the romantic contentment with the "peculiar institution" that slaveholders tried to convince abolitionists all slaves felt.
Twain's equivocal attitude toward blacks extends beyond his fiction into his lifelong struggle with "the Negro question. Leaving slaveholding Missouri seems to have had little effect on his racial outlook, because in he wrote home to his mother from New York, "I reckon I had better black my face, for in these Eastern states niggers are considerably better than white people. In a letter proving that Twain had provided financial assistance to a black student at the Yale University Law School in was discovered and authenticated by Shelley Fisher Fishkin.
Washington in championing several black causes. Instead, this should make it the pith of the American literature curriculum. Active engagement with Twain's novel provides one method for students to confront their own deepest racial feelings and insecurities. Though the problems of racial perspective present in Huckleberry Finn may never be satisfactorily explained for censors or scholars, the consideration of them may have a practical, positive bearing on the manner in which America approaches race in the coming century.
Notes 1. Sculley Bradley et al. New York: Norton, Nicholas J. Karolides and Lee Burress, eds. This information is based on six national surveys of censorship pressures on the American public schools between 19 6 5 and Most scholars express opinions on whether or not to ban Huckleberry Finn in a paragraph or two of an article that deals mainly with another topic. Shelley Fisher Fishkin has given the issues much more attention.
In addition to authenticating a letter written by Mark Twain that indicates his nonracist views see n. Hitchens 2 5 8. Allan B. Ballard, letter, New York Times 9 May 19 8 z. Nick runs into Tom in New York and learns that it was Tom who told George that the yellow car belonged to Gatsby and gave him Gatsby's address. Disillusioned with the East, Nick moves back to the Midwest, having decided not to tell Tom that it was Daisy behind the wheel of the car that killed Myrtle.
Fitzgerald began planning his third novel in June ,  but it was interrupted by production of his play, The Vegetable , in the summer and fall. The town was used as the scene of The Great Gatsby. While the Fitzgeralds were living in New York, the Hall-Mills murder case was sensationalized in the daily newspapers over the course of many months, and the highly publicized case likely influenced the plot of Fitzgerald's novel. Scholars have speculated that Fitzgerald based certain aspects of the ending of The Great Gatsby as well as various characterizations on this factual incident.
By mid, Fitzgerald had written 18, words for his novel,  but discarded most of his new story as a false start. Some of it, however, resurfaced in the short story "Absolution. Fitzgerald wrote in his ledger, "Out of woods at last and starting novel. By August, however, Fitzgerald was hard at work and completed what he believed to be his final manuscript in October, sending the book to his editor, Maxwell Perkins , and agent, Harold Ober , on October Content after a few rounds of revision, Fitzgerald returned the final batch of revised galleys in the middle of February The cover of the first printing of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of art in American literature.
A little-known artist named Francis Cugat was commissioned to illustrate the book while Fitzgerald was in the midst of writing it. The cover was completed before the novel, and Fitzgerald was so enamored with it that he told his publisher he had "written it into" the novel. Eckleburg,  depicted on a faded commercial billboard near George Wilson's auto repair shop, which Fitzgerald described as:. They look out of no face, but instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.
Although this passage has some resemblance to the painting, a closer explanation can be found in the description of Daisy Buchanan as the "girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs. He said he had liked the jacket and now he didn't like it. Fitzgerald had difficulty choosing a title for his novel and entertained many choices before reluctantly choosing The Great Gatsby ,  a title inspired by Alain-Fournier 's Le Grand Meaulnes.
Unlike Gatsby's spectacular parties, Trimalchio participated in the audacious and libidinous orgies he hosted but, according to Tony Tanner 's introduction to the Penguin edition, there are subtle similarities between the two. In November , Fitzgerald wrote to Perkins that "I have now decided to stick to the title I put on the book Trimalchio in West Egg ,"  but was eventually persuaded that the reference was too obscure and that people would not be able to pronounce it.
On March 19, ,  Fitzgerald expressed intense enthusiasm for the title Under the Red, White and Blue , but it was at that stage too late to change. Another difference is that the argument between Tom Buchanan and Gatsby is more even,  although Daisy still returns to Tom. Fitzgerald called Perkins on the day of publication to monitor reviews: "Any news? Eliot , Edith Wharton , and Willa Cather regarding the novel; however, this was private opinion, and Fitzgerald feverishly sought the public recognition of reviewers and readers.
The Great Gatsby received mixed reviews from literary critics of the day. Generally the most effusive of the positive reviews was Edwin Clark of The New York Times , who felt the novel was "A curious book, a mystical, glamourous [ sic ] story of today. Ford of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "[the novel] leaves the reader in a mood of chastened wonder," calling the book "a revelation of life" and "a work of art.
His style fairly scintillates, and with a genuine brilliance; he writes surely and soundly. Mencken called the book "in form no more than a glorified anecdote, and not too probable at that," while praising the book's "charm and beauty of the writing" and the "careful and brilliant finish. Mencken , Chicago Tribune , May . Several writers felt that the novel left much to be desired following Fitzgerald's previous works and promptly criticized him.
Harvey Eagleton of The Dallas Morning News believed the novel signaled the end of Fitzgerald's success: "One finishes Great Gatsby with a feeling of regret, not for the fate of the people in the book, but for Mr. Louis Post-Dispatch felt the book lacked what made Fitzgerald's earlier novels endearing and called the book "a minor performance At the moment, its author seems a bit bored and tired and cynical.
Fitzgerald is not one of the great American writers of to-day. Fitzgerald's goal was to produce a literary work which would truly prove himself as a writer,  and Gatsby did not have the commercial success of his two previous novels, This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned.
Although the novel went through two initial printings, some of these copies remained unsold years later. In , Fitzgerald suffered a third and fatal heart attack, and died believing his work forgotten. In , a group of publishing executives created the Council on Books in Wartime. The Council's purpose was to distribute paperback books to soldiers fighting in the Second World War.
The Great Gatsby was one of these books. The books proved to be "as popular as pin-up girls " among the soldiers, according to the Saturday Evening Post ' s contemporary report. By , full-length articles on Fitzgerald's works were being published, and the following year, "the opinion that Gatsby was merely a period piece had almost entirely disappeared. By , the book was steadily selling 50, copies per year, and renewed interest led The New York Times editorialist Mizener to proclaim the novel "a classic of twentieth-century American fiction.
Following the novel's revival, later critical writings on The Great Gatsby focus in particular on Fitzgerald's disillusionment with the American dream [a] in the context of the hedonistic Jazz Age , [b] a name for the era which Fitzgerald claimed to have coined. Pearson published an essay in which he asserted that Fitzgerald "has come to be associated with this concept of the American dream more than any other writer of the twentieth century.
Briefly defined, it is the belief that every man, whatever his origins, may pursue and attain his chosen goals, be they political, monetary, or social. It is the literary expression of the concept of America: The land of opportunity. However, Pearson noted that "Fitzgerald's unique expression of the American dream lacks the optimism, the sense of fulfillment, so evident in the expressions of his predecessors.
Echoing Pearson's interpretation, scholar Sarah Churchwell similarly views The Great Gatsby to be a "cautionary tale of the decadent downside of the American dream. In addition to exploring the trials and tribulations of achieving the American dream during the Jazz Age, The Great Gatsby explores societal gender expectations as a theme. Although early scholars viewed the character of Daisy Buchanan to be a "monster of bitchery,"  later scholars such as Leland S. Person, Jr. She becomes the unwitting 'grail' in Gatsby's adolescent quest to remain ever-faithful to his seventeen-year-old conception of self.
Daisy is thus "reduced to a golden statue, a collector's item which crowns Gatsby's material success. Journalist Nick Gillespie interprets The Great Gatsby as a story of the underlying permanence of class differences , even "in the face of a modern economy based not on status and inherited position but on innovation and an ability to meet ever-changing consumer needs. As Gillespie states, "While the specific terms of the equation are always changing, it's easy to see echoes of Gatsby ' s basic conflict between established sources of economic and cultural power and upstarts in virtually all aspects of American society.
Postmodern criticism of Gatsby seeks to place the novel and its characters in historical context almost a century after its original publication. These interpretations argue that Jay Gatsby and The Great Gatsby can be viewed as the personification and representation of human-caused climate change , as "Gatsby's life depends on many human-centered, selfish endeavors" which are "in some part responsible for Earth's current ecological crisis.
The green light that shines at the end of the dock of Daisy's house across the Sound from Gatsby's house is frequently mentioned in the background of the plot. It has variously been interpreted as a symbol of Gatsby's longing for Daisy and, more broadly, of the American dream. Like many of Fitzgerald's works, The Great Gatsby has been accused of displaying anti-Semitism through the use of Jewish stereotypes.
Richard Levy, author of Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution , claims that Wolfsheim is "pointedly connected Jewishness and crookedness. A article by Arthur Krystal agreed with Hindus' assessment that Fitzgerald's use of Jewish caricatures was not driven by malice and merely reflected commonly-held beliefs of his time. He notes the accounts of Frances Kroll, a Jewish woman and secretary to Fitzgerald, who claimed that Fitzgerald was hurt by accusations of anti-Semitism and responded to critiques of Wolfsheim by claiming that he merely "fulfilled a function in the story and had nothing to do with race or religion.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the novel. Not to be confused with Gadsby novel. Scott Fitzgerald. Further information: Roaring Twenties and Jazz Age. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre. So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Ginevra King left —whom Fitzgerald romantically pursued—inspired the character of Daisy Buchanan. Edith Cummings right was an amateur golfer who inspired the character of Jordan Baker.
How Armando Iannucci became the go-to guy for uproarious political profanity.
The now-demolished Beacon Towers partly served as an inspiration for Gatsby's home. Oheka Castle was another North Shore inspiration for the novel's setting. Early drafts of the book cover made by illustrator Francis Cugat. The thing that chiefly interests the basic Fitzgerald is still the florid show of modern American life—and especially the devil's dance and that goes on at the top.
He is unconcerned about the sweating and suffering of the nether herd; what engrosses him is the high carnival of those who have too much money to spend, and too much time for the spending of it. Their idiotic pursuit of sensation, their almost incredible stupidity and triviality, their glittering swinishness—these are the things that go into his notebook.
Novels portal s portal. Yet Gatsby also explores the dream's destructive power. Americans pay a great price for that dream. Paul hospital. It is a famous example of a lost film. Reviews suggest that it may have been the most faithful adaptation of the novel, but a trailer of the film at the National Archives is all that is known to exist. The Great Gatsby challenges the myth of the American Dream, glowing like the green light on Daisy's dock in the Roaring '20s. He captured and distilled the essence of the American spirit. Although knowledge of the background adds dimension to the novel, it can stand very well without it.
The garish, frenetic world of the s is gone. Near the end of her life Zelda Fitzgerald said that Gatsby was based on 'a neighbor named Von Guerlach or something who was said to be General Pershing 's nephew and was in trouble over bootlegging. Her pictorial counterpart was drawn by the American cartoonist John Held, Jr. Editor Matthew J. Bruccoli notes: "This name combines two automobile makes: The sporty Jordan and the conservative Baker electric.
He seeded his masterpiece there, drawing on his own experiences on 'that slender riotous island,' and in a room above the garage turning out short stories that prefigured Gatsby. Fitzgerald wrote to Perkins: "I feel I have an enormous power in me now. This book will be a consciously artistic achievement and must depend on that as the first books did not. Scott Fitzgerald's ledger Fitzgerald wrote to Perkins: "For Christs sake don't give anyone that jacket you're saving for me.
I've written it into the book. It had a garish dust jacket and I remember being embarrassed by the violence, bad taste and slippery look of it. It looked like the book jacket for a book of bad science fiction. Scot told me not to be put off by it, that it had to do with a billboard along a highway in Long Island that was important in the story. I took it off to read the book. Trimalchio in West Egg. Unfortunately, it was too late to change. And when all are linked together, the weight of the story as a revelation of life and as a work of art becomes apparent.
The story for all its basic triviality has a fine texture; a careful and brilliant finish What gives the story distinction is something quite different from the management of the action or the handling of the characters; it is the charm and beauty of the writing. Scott Fitzgerald died in , he thought he was a failure. When it was published in this ironic tale of life on Long Island, at a time when gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession, it received critical acclaim.
In it Mr. Fitzgerald was at his best. One soldier said that books with 'racy' passages were as popular as 'pin-up girls'. Print sources Batchelor, Bob Retrieved July 15, The New York Post. May 5, Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph , ed. Scott Fitzgerald 2nd rev. Retrieved February 25, Churchwell, Sarah Little, Brown Book Group. Coghlan, Ralph April 25, Scott Fitzgerald". Louis Post-Dispatch. Cole, John Y. Washington: Library of Congress. Retrieved May 22, Conor, Liz June 22, Indiana University Press. Curnutt, Kirk A Historical Guide to F.
Oxford University Press. Retrieved October 11, Drudzina, Douglas Teaching F. Prestwick House. Eagleton, Harvey May 10, The Dallas Morning News. Dallas , Texas. Eble, Kenneth Winter College Literature. Fitzgerald, Francis Scott ; Perkins, Maxwell Kuehl, John; Bryer, Jackson R. Macmillan Publishing Company.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott August 30, . Bruccoli, Matthew J. The Great Gatsby. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bloom, Harold ed. New York: Chelsea House Publishers.
Tanner, Tony ed. The Great Gatsy. London : Penguin Books. Turnbull, Andrew ed. The Letters of F. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Tredell, Nicolas ed. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby. Columbia Critical Guides. New York: Columbia University Press. Gross, Dalton Literature in Context. Westport, Connecticut : Greenwood Press.
The Other Face Of Public Tv Censoring The American Dream
Hemingway, Ernest A Moveable Feast. New York: Scribner. Hill, W. Speed; Burns, Edward M. University of Michigan Press.
Forms of Censorship; Censorship As Form | electronic book review
Karolides, Nicholas J. Checkmark Books. Keeler, Kyle The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review. Lazo, Caroline Evensen Scott Fitzgerald: Voice of the Jazz Age. Twenty-First Century Books. Leader, Zachary September 21, London Review of Books. Retrieved February 24, McClure, John May 31, The Times-Picayune. New Orleans, Louisiana. McCullen, Bonnie Shannon In Assadi, Jamal; Freedman, William eds. New York: Peter Lang. Mencken, H. May 3, The Chicago Daily Tribune. Mizener, Arthur Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company. O'Meara, Lauraleigh Lost City: Fitzgerald's New York 1st ed.
Retrieved May 21, Perkins, Maxwell Evarts . University of South Carolina Press. Pearson, Roger L. May