English Literature
/
F Scott Fitzgerald

F Scott Fitzgerald

Shiken premium Upgrade Banner

The Life and Impact of F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald, also known as Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, was a renowned American author of the 20th century. He was born on September 24, 1896, in Minnesota, and sadly passed away on December 21, 1940, in California. His works continue to inspire readers and are considered a reflection of love, social status, and the changing society of his time.

Early Life and Education

Fitzgerald spent most of his childhood in New York, but he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. His father, Edward Fitzgerald, worked as a salesman, while his mother, Marie 'Mollie' McQuillan Fitzgerald, came from a well-off family. The McQuillans supported the Fitzgeralds financially during their marriage. Fitzgerald attended Princeton University, but his relationship with socialite Ginevra King led to his departure in 1917. He then joined the US Army during World War I.

Marriage and Career

In 1920, while he was stationed in Alabama with the US Army, Fitzgerald married American socialite and writer, Zelda Sayre. Initially, Zelda declined his proposal due to his uncertain financial future. However, after the success of his debut novel, "This Side of Paradise," in 1920, she accepted his proposal. Inspired by Fitzgerald's own experiences, the novel became a commercial hit.

Rise to Prominence

Following the success of his first novel, Fitzgerald became a renowned writer and had his works published in magazines like Esquire. He also became friends with notable writers such as Ernest Hemingway. His most famous work, "The Great Gatsby," immortalized the lavish lifestyle of the elite in Long Island, New York, and was published in 1925. Although it received good reviews, the novel only gained commercial success after his death.

Struggles and Loss

Despite achieving fame and success, Fitzgerald faced financial difficulties, which worsened during the Great Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s. He moved to Hollywood, California, to try his hand at screenwriting, but he was largely unsuccessful. He also battled alcoholism during this time and witnessed his wife's mental health decline due to schizophrenia.

Final Works and Legacy

In 1934, Fitzgerald published his last completed novel, "Tender Is the Night." He also left behind an unfinished work, "The Last Tycoon," which was completed and published posthumously in 1941 by his friend Edmund Wilson. Fitzgerald's impact on American literature and culture is immense, as he coined the term "Jazz Age" to describe the roaring twenties and provided insight into the changing attitudes of the time through his writing.

Important Works by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"This Side of Paradise," published in 1920, was Fitzgerald's first novel and explored themes of love and social status during the Roaring Twenties. "The Great Gatsby," published in 1925, is considered his masterpiece and delves into the extravagant lifestyle of the elite in Long Island. Other notable works include "The Beautiful and Damned" (1922) and "Tender Is the Night" (1934).

A Life Cut Short

Despite his early success, struggles and loss plagued Fitzgerald's life. He passed away at the young age of 44, leaving behind a legacy of timeless works that continue to captivate readers worldwide.

In his novel "This Side of Paradise" (1920), Amory Blaine, the protagonist, experiences a series of romantic relationships that teach him about love, marriage, and social status in the Roaring Twenties. He is initially drawn to the charming flapper Rosalind Connage, but his financial struggles prevent them from being together. He then has a summer romance with Eleanor Savage, but ultimately realizes that he does not truly love her. Upon returning to New York, Amory discovers that Rosalind is now engaged to a wealthy suitor, Dawson Ryder.

Marriage is a central theme in "This Side of Paradise," as Amory's parents' marriage was one of convenience, and he desires a love-based marriage. However, during this era, marriage and wealth were closely intertwined, as seen through Amory's pursuit of Rosalind, a wealthy debutante.

"Love, Wealth, and Moral Decay: F. Scott Fitzgerald's Portrayal in His Novels"In his iconic novels, F. Scott Fitzgerald delves into the complex relationships between love, money, and morality during the glamorous 1920s. Central to his works are themes of the American Dream, wealth, and the pursuit of beauty, which ultimately lead to tragic consequences for his characters."The Beautiful and the Damned" (1922) follows Anthony Patch, a former Harvard student and heir to a vast fortune, and his wife Gloria Gilbert. Despite their lavish lifestyle, their reckless and indulgent behavior leads to conflicts and an inheritance dispute. As Anthony joins the military and has an affair, the couple's wealth brings them little happiness and instead leads to moral and physical deterioration.Fitzgerald's criticism of the upper class and their societal values is further explored in "The Great Gatsby" (1925). Narrator Nick Carraway moves to New York City in 1922, where he becomes friends with the enigmatic millionaire Jay Gatsby. Gatsby's obsession with his lost love, Daisy, and his acquired wealth through illegal means, reveals the darker side of the American Dream. As the characters' relationships and desires collide, the consequences are tragic and reflective of the moral decay of the wealthy during the Jazz Age.In "Tender is the Night," set in the French Riviera among American expatriates, Fitzgerald continues to expose the consequences of the American Dream. The novel follows Rosemary Hoyt, a young Hollywood actress, and her affair with successful psychiatrist Dick Diver. However, as their relationship unfolds, it becomes clear that Dick's pursuit of wealth and success has led him down a destructive path of alcoholism and poor decisions.Further exploring themes of mental illness and homosexuality, Fitzgerald's novel serves as a commentary on the societal views and treatment of these issues during the 1920s and 1930s. It highlights the emptiness and moral decline of the wealthy and their inability to find fulfillment through material possessions.Through his evocative and thought-provoking novels, Fitzgerald shines a light on the decadent and materialistic society of the Roaring Twenties and the consequences of pursuing love and wealth above all else. His timeless works continue to resonate with readers, reminding us of the dangers of chasing the elusive American Dream.

The American Dream and Its Downfall Explored Through Fitzgerald's Work

F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels are renowned for their exploration of the darker themes of society, but also for their portrayal of the pursuit of the American Dream. In his work "The Last Tycoon," Fitzgerald delves into the glitz and glamour of the film industry, symbolizing the potential for success and wealth that America promises. However, as seen in his other works, this pursuit often comes at a high cost, revealing the fragility and emptiness of the dream itself.

A Tale of Hollywood, Love, and Betrayal in Fitzgerald's Writing

As Cecelia and Wylie travel to Los Angeles with failed producer Mr Schwartz, their lives take an unexpected turn when the plane is grounded in Nashville. Mr Schwartz leaves the trip there, but upon reaching their destination, they receive the devastating news of his suicide. The plot thickens as Cecelia becomes entangled in a forbidden love affair with Stahr, her father's business partner, leading to betrayal, revenge, and ultimately, tragedy.

The Reflection of Fitzgerald's Life in His Work

The struggles and hardships faced by Fitzgerald as an aspiring screenwriter are evident in the character of Stahr, who relentlessly pursues success in the film industry despite constant financial disappointments. This mirrors Fitzgerald's own struggle to break into the industry and adds a personal touch to the novel, providing readers with an inside look into the workings of Hollywood.

The Heart-Wrenching Consequences of Love, Class, and Ambition

The complex relationship between Cecelia, Stahr, and her father, Pat Brady, is a reflection of the class divide and the corrupting influence of power and ambition in Fitzgerald's works. As Cecelia and Stahr's love grows, so does the tension between them and Pat Brady, leading to betrayal and ultimately, violence. The tragic ending of the novel serves as a commentary on the destructive nature of greed and selfish ambition.

The Recurring Themes in Fitzgerald's Novels

Class and love are two recurring themes in Fitzgerald's works, drawn from his own experiences and observations of society. In "The Great Gatsby" (1925), he portrays the superficiality and emptiness of the lives of the wealthy, while in "This Side of Paradise" (1920), he explores the idea of privilege and superiority through the character of Amory. Love and romance are also central themes, depicting the realities of relationships and the impact of class and money on them.

The Impact of the American Dream and Love in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Writing

In "The Great Gatsby" (1925), when Myrtle Wilson reveals her misguided beliefs about her husband's social status, it serves as a commentary on the influence of the American Dream on society. Similarly, in his other works, Fitzgerald explores the effects of love and ambition on individuals and their relationships, drawing from his own life and experiences. Through his nuanced and flawed characters, he challenges the idea of the American Dream and exposes the dark side of the pursuit of success and wealth.

Despite her friends' insistence that Myrtle loves George, she vehemently denies it and instead accuses him of lying about his financial status. This example of a marriage reflects the overriding themes of love being overshadowed by money and social class in the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In his novel Tender is the Night (1934), protagonist Dick Diver grapples with conflicting emotions as he declares, "I'm afraid I'm in love with you... and that's not the best thing that could happen." As he falls for Rosemary, Dick is still devoted to his wife Nicole and must navigate his feelings without causing harm to either woman.

The Illusion of the American Dream

In the 1920s, the American Dream was a popular concept, based on the belief that hard work could lead to success and an elevated social status. This theme is illustrated in The Great Gatsby (1925) through the character of Nick Carraway, who embodies the hopes and early stages of achieving the American Dream. The novel's protagonist, Jay Gatsby, represents the ultimate realization of this dream.

In This Side of Paradise (1920), protagonist Amory Blaine strives for success by conforming to societal expectations. He attends Princeton University, joins clubs, and secures a conventional job. However, he eventually realizes that true success comes from staying true to oneself. This struggle to find fulfillment through the American Dream is a common thread shared by both Gatsby and Amory.

Wealth and Social Class in Fitzgerald's Fiction

In The Beautiful and the Damned (1922), Fitzgerald writes, "An aristocracy founded sheerly on money postulates wealth in the particular." This quote highlights the divide between the wealthy elite and the average person, as well as the contrast with the American Dream's promise of equal opportunity. According to Fitzgerald, one must earn their success, wealth, and respect instead of simply inheriting it.

In his writing, Fitzgerald often delves into the flawed mindset of his characters, who prioritize appearances and status over genuine emotions. In This Side of Paradise (1920), Amory reflects on his lack of love for Isabelle, saying, "He became aware that he had not an ounce of real affection for Isabelle, but her coldness piqued him... if he didn't kiss her, it would worry him... It would interfere vaguely with his idea of himself as a conqueror." Amory values his ego and image over honesty and true emotions.

In another famous quote, Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby (1925) tells Nick, "Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead." By helping Gatsby make a fortune through their illegal alcohol business, Wolfsheim demonstrates true friendship and loyalty, while also exposing the shallow relationships of the wealthy elite.

In The Great Gatsby (1925), Nick categorizes the people he encounters: "There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired." The "pursued" refers to individuals like Gatsby who are well-known and desired, while Nick is "the pursuing" as he pursues his love interest, Jordan. "The busy" are constantly occupied, such as Tom Buchanan, who prioritizes his business endeavors. Finally, "the tired" refers to those lacking ambition or drive, like Daisy Buchanan.

In The Last Tycoon (1941), Fitzgerald writes, "He was born sleepless, without a talent for rest or the desire for it." This quote captures protagonist Stahr's relentless dedication to his work in the film industry, which ultimately leads to the downfall of his personal and professional life.

Similarly, in This Side of Paradise (1920), Amory wonders, "How people could fail to notice that he was a boy marked for glory." This mindset reveals Amory's entitled and delusional belief that he is destined for greatness, despite lacking any true talents or accomplishments.

Lessons Learned from Fitzgerald's Writing

Overall, Fitzgerald's novels showcase the corrupting influence of the American Dream and the way love often takes a backseat to money and social class. His characters are flawed and misguided, prioritizing appearances and status over genuine emotions and relationships. Through their experiences, Fitzgerald reminds readers to pursue true success and to value authentic connections with others instead of seeking shallow and fleeting validation.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Literary Icon's Life and Legacy

F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American author known for his exploration of the themes of wealth, love, and social class in his novels. His writing often delved into the flawed mindset of his characters, exposing the corrupting influence of the American Dream and the shallow relationships of the wealthy elite. Through his work, Fitzgerald reminds us to prioritize genuine connections and true success rather than chasing superficial validation.

The Life and Legacy of F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the United States. After a brief stint in New York City and Paris, he settled in Hollywood, California, where he passed away on December 21, 1940.

Although he is best known for his classic novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald's literary genius was not immediately recognized. It wasn't until after his death that his work gained significant acclaim. Before his rise to fame, Fitzgerald attended Princeton University, but left in 1917 after a failed romance with Ginevra King, a wealthy socialite. He then served in the US army during World War I.

During his time in the army, Fitzgerald met and married Zelda Sayre, an American socialite and novelist. She would become a continued source of inspiration for his writing. While The Great Gatsby remains his most famous work, Fitzgerald also left behind his unfinished fifth novel, The Last Tycoon, which was completed by his friend Edmund Wilson and published in 1941. Throughout his career, he often explored themes of social class, love, romance, and the American Dream in his writing.

Despite achieving success with The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald faced financial struggles following its release. The Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s further added to his financial woes.

The Influence of F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald has left a lasting impact on literature and culture. His most renowned work, The Great Gatsby, was completed in 1925 and was strongly influenced by his experiences in Long Island, New York. It was here that he attended extravagant parties and witnessed the lavish lifestyle of the elite, which ultimately served as inspiration for his masterpiece.

But Fitzgerald's influence goes beyond his writing. He coined the term "Jazz Age" to describe the vibrant and booming cultural scene of the Roaring Twenties in the US. Through his work, he offered a broader perspective on the era, shedding light on its prosperity, consumerism, and societal attitudes beyond the exclusive world of the wealthy.

The legacy of F. Scott Fitzgerald lives on through his timeless writing and his impact on American literature. The themes he explored in his works continue to resonate with readers, making his novels and short stories just as relevant and meaningful today as they were in his time.

Join Shiken For FREE

Gumbo Study Buddy

Explore More Subject Explanations

Try Shiken Premium for free

Start creating interactive learning content in minutes with Shiken. 96% of learners report 2x faster learning.
Try Shiken for free
Free 14 day trial
Cancel anytime
20k+ learners globally
Shiken UI showing questions and overall results.