Marriage is kind of a big deal in This Side of Paradise. For starters, Amory's mother and father married for convenience more than love, and this decision has a lasting impact on his life. Beatrice's lack of love in marriage leads her to devote herself completely to Amory, which ends up giving Amory a huge ego.
On top of that, Amory decides after meeting Rosalind Connage that marrying her will solve all of his problems and bring fulfillment to his dreary life. But when Rosalind breaks things off, Amory spirals into a despair so deep that it looks like he'll never get out. In the end, marriage might not solve a person's problems. But Amory keeps thinking it will because he never gets the chance to find out otherwise.
In This Side of Paradise, we learn that marriage might seem like a path to fulfillment… but it actually isn't.
In This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald leaves us thinking that Amory Blaine (or anyone, for that matter) could find fulfillment in life if only he could marry the person he loves.
Amory's got pride. And when we say pride, we mean that the kid has been bred by his mother to be a complete egomaniac. At one point in the book, Amory eve suffers from a lack of energy because he spends all his strength trying to hide how superior he feels to other people.
Over the course of This Side of Paradise, Amory learns to recognize his pride and to struggle with it. But he never quite reaches a state of modesty. It's just too difficult for him to stop thinking he's special, that he's deeper and more complex than all the fools around him. Good luck having a fulfilling life and thinking like that, pal.
In This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald reminds us that there is nothing that will stand in the way of fulfillment more than pride.
This Side of Paradise shows us that no matter how much the world tries to beat us down into mediocrity, we should always stay proud and exceptional.
Paging Dr. Freud: Amory's early family life has a huge effect on his personality. For starters, his mom spoils him rotten and raises him to think he's a god among mortals. Yuck. In many cases, This Side of Paradise blames Amory's problems on his mother's influence.
But, truth be told, there comes a time when Amory needs to take responsibility for his own destiny and stop blaming his family for his troubles. Along the way, he gains a valuable new "family" member in Monsignor Darcy, who becomes like a father. When Darcy dies, though, Amory is left all alone with no sense of direction, and it's tough to tell whether he'll ever find a new compass.
In This Side of Paradise, we learn that family can often cause more problems than it solves.
In This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald shows us that a person without a strong family will always feel lost in the world.
After Rosalind breaks his heart (and his engagement), Amory Blaine spirals into some pretty serious drunkity-drunk-drunk shenanigans. The only thing that saves him from liver failure is Prohibition.
Now, you'd think that Amory's life would get better once he dried out and became healthier… but that's not the case at all. It turns out that Amory's alcoholism is just a symptom of a deeper problem. And it's Amory's preoccupation with the problems he drowns in alcohol that Fitzgerald mulls over in This Side of Paradise.
In This Side of Paradise, we learn that turning to alcohol will only make our problems worse.
In This Side of Paradise, we see that alcohol is usually just a symptom (and not the cause) of a deeper problem.
Amory spends much of his youth (and, consequently, most of This Side of Paradise) thinking that he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. But once he hits prep school and university, he realizes he might not be as special as his mom has raised him to think he is.
In fact, he eventually resent the loss of his youth because he doesn't like the changes that the world has created in him. He claims that he misses his lost innocence, but it seems more likely that what he really misses is the fantasy that he is the most important person in the world.
In This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald shows us that losing our youth usually means losing the fantasy that we are somehow special or unique.
In This Side of Paradise, we learn that even though the transition from youth to adulthood is tough, it's all for the best in the long run.
There are lots of different ways to get an education—going to a fancy prep school and fancier university is just one of them. In fact, it's hard to tell whether Amory learns more from his life inside school or his life outside of it.
We definitely don't see him using the stuff he's learned in a classroom on a daily basis. No, Amory's education in This Side of Paradise consists mostly of the things he learns by hanging out with other people. He also gets a painful education through his love life, which sometimes looks like an endless series of disappointments.
In This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald shows us that an awesome university education can be a good thing; but we need to be prepared for some harsh truths.
This Side of Paradise shows us that the main reason people go to schools like Princeton is for status and social connections, rather than a good education.
One of the first things we learn about Amory Blaine is that he's a total hottie. In fact, it's his good looks that get him through most of his young life without becoming a total outcast. Amory is a socially awkward guy, but people are always willing to make excuses for him because he's sooo pretty.
As he gets older, Amory realizes how much he's benefited from this superficial thinking and he hates himself for it. Even more so, he hates the world for being so superficial, because now that he's older, money matters more than good looks. And he has no plans to work hard for money anytime soon… at least that we see in the timeline of This Side of Paradise.
In This Side of Paradise, we learn that people often judge a book by its cover… and they're usually right.
This Side of Paradise reminds us that it's hard to develop a deep personality when the world is constantly rewarding you for your good looks.
Amory looks for all kinds of ways to make his life more fulfilling. And being a romantic, he decides that love is one of his best options. Little does he know that love will turn out to be way more of a disappointment than he ever imagined.
As a handsome young guy, he's used to having his way in relationships. But that all changes when his fiancée Rosalind rejects him for not having enough money or prospects. This is the sort of thing that never would have happened when he was younger. But now it's time for the adult world, Amory, where love doesn't always conquer. Life (and This Side of Paradise) is pretty dang brutal.
In This Side of Paradise, we learn that love can't solve all our problems.
This Side of Paradise shows us that even though love can be tough, we have to stick with it and have faith.