The other day in my class we looked at quotes pertaining to This Side of Paradise to be able to grasp a better understanding of the book's characters.
The quote that was given for us to analyze was on pg. 74:
"'Oh, but your missing the point, Tom.' Amory interrupted. ' You've just had your eyes open to the snobbishness of the world in a rather abrupt manner. Princeton invariably gives the thoughtful man and social sense.' (...) 'Yes,' he agreed, you're right. I wouldn't have liked it. Still it's hard to be made a cynic at twenty.' 'I was born one,' Amory murmured. 'I'm a cynical idealist.' He paused and wondered if that meant anything."
First my group thought it would be wise to define the word cynic, as this is what Amory is calling himself.
Cynic: someone who is critical of the motives of others.
As we can tell by the quote Tom looks at life in a more positive light. Amory thinks that Tom has been blinded by this outlook and wants him to be more of a cynic. Amory feels that Princeton has warped Tom and this is what has validated his positivity because he expects life will always be good for the comfortable or the wealthy. However, no matter how rich or well off a person is there will always be problems... in turn making life more like a soap opera: (i.e. the people who have everything really have nothing.) Through Amory the reader witnesses that wealth and education is fleeting and in the end everyone dies regardless of status. There is a bit of an existentialist point of view towards the characters in Fitzgerald’s book: that life is life and actions speak louder than words.