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Word Count: 2,345
Many critics have complained with justice that a great flaw in This Side of Paradise aside from its loose rambling structure is the fact that the author seems uncertain as to his own attitude He mocks the romantic delusions or emotional melodrama of his little rich boy Amory Blaine while too often he shares or seems to share in the delusions themselvesThere is in short a kind of smart pseudo-sophistication imbedded within the narrative itself-a series of clever comments inserted for the sake of the cleverness rather than for any aesthetic purpose And one result of this aesthetic self-indulgence is that the reader may find it difficult to take either Amory or his adventures with any degree of seriousness at all Indeed one feels as though the author himself were doing what Amory does during the course of the narrative he merely holds the posture of writing about what actually is a very slight matterThe need for some sort of imposing or melodramatic gesture is of course one of the chief qualities of Amory Blaine as an adolescent That neither Amory nor his creator-F Scott Fitzgerald-ever grew out of this need is a fact that readers of Fitzgeralds works have recognized as central to the direction of his life and career For Amory at any rate and for his mother Beatrice Blaine as well the posture of reality all too often replaces reality itself while gesture stands as a substitute for emotional commitmentA woman of inherited wealth Beatrice Blaine is a lovely charming superficial childlike woman who maintains the posture of romance a mere surface superimposed upon an essentially frigid or infantile refusal to commit herself to anything at all She is of course the prototype for what has come to be known as the Fitzgerald Woman - an enchanting but essentially parasitic femme fatale whom Fitzgerald the author used so often for his books and whom in the person of Zelda Fitzgerald the man
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