F. Scott Fitzgerald

by: Eryn Throneberry

Fitzgerald's Biography

Francis Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is one of four children of Edward and Mary (McQuillan) Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, two of their children had died before Francis was born. F. Scott Fitzgerald is a distant cousin of Francis Scott Key, writer of "The Star Spangled Banner." When Fitzgerald was in school at Princeton, he decided that writing was his passion. However, he was so caught up in writing that he put aside his school work. He eventually dropped out and joined the army. In 1918, he was sent to Camp Sheridan, where he met Zelda Sayre. Her loved her dearly, but Zelda's parents were not so fond of Fitzgerald. But he did not give up. In 1919 he went to New York to earn money so he could prove himself to Zelda's parents. And guess what? He did. He married Zelda a week after his first published book gave him his start, "This Side of Paradise." Fitzgerald has written many books that have been rejected, including "The Romantic Egoist." On the other hand, "This Side of Paradise" made him and Zelda celebrities. Fitzgerald and Zelda had lived in Connecticut, then moved back to New York, where Fitzgerald wrote "The Beautiful and the Damned," his second novel, in 1922. This book had not made much money, because they had a reputation of being "hard drinkers." His drinking problem had affected his career as a writer. However in 1925, Fitzgerald wrote "The Great Gatsby." This made Fitzgerald known as a part of "The Jazz Age." This book was essential. Later on, Zelda had a mental breakdown because she was schizophrenic. Fitzgerald had to take her in and out of mental institutions. The Fitzgeralds fell into a big economical depression, with Fitzgerald's drinking, Scottie, their daughter, in private school, and the medical expenses for Zelda. His fame decreased very quickly. He wrote his last completed novel, "Tender is the Night," which was about Zelda's breakdowns. For the last of his life, he was actually starting to get himself together: he stopped drinking, he married Sheilah Graham, and he started writing "The Last Tycoon." Just when things were going well for him, he died of a heart attack on December 21, 1940 in Graham's apartment. He was only forty-four years old.

Fitzgerald's Legacy

F. Scott Fitzgerald, when he first died, was almost forgotten. For the people who did remember him, they thought of him as an irresponsible writer. In fact, at this time, only 23,000 copies were sold of Fitzgerald's most famous novel, "The Great Gatsby." Although later, around the 1950's, his fame increased remarkably. "The Great Gatsby" is, even now, one of the most frequently assigned books in high schools. It was only until a lot later after his death that he was very well-known. Today, he is known as one of the voices of "The Jazz Age."
Mini BIO - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Video Questions

1. How old was Fitzgerald when he published his first story in the school newspaper of the St. Paul Academy?

2. Why did Fitzgerald drop out of Princeton to join the army?