F Scott Fitzgerald

The great writer of The Lost Generation

Background

-F Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 26, 1896 in St. Paul Minnesota, and was in a middle class family

-He attended many private catholic schools and went to princetont, where he was cut from the football team on the first day. This led him to write for the Princeton Triangle Club and many other clubs, developing his skills as a writer

-His writing was his focus, and as a result, his grades suffered. He dropped out of school and joined the army, but never fought because the war ended shortly after he joined

-Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre while he was stationed in Montgomery, Alabama and married Zelda (whom he called "the first flapper") on October 26, 1921

-Fitzgerald was inspired by the changes in society post World War I in "the Jazz Age", which is clearly shown in all of his novels, which provide us today a view to what life was like in America in the 1920's

-Only Fitzgerald's first novel sold well, so to support his outlandish lifestyle he wrote many short stories for magazines

-He eventually became depressed and suffered from alcoholism

-He retired to Hollywood, where he wrote screenplays, and later died of a heart attack

"You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say"

-F Scott Fitzgerald

Historical Impact/ Parallels

Fitzgerald's works will be much more appreciated after he dies. Many now view The Great Gatsby as the best novel of the twentieth century. The themes of his book were a little too scandalous for the time period he wrote them, but now are completely accepted as normal.


If I had the writings skills of F Scott Fitzgerald I would use them to write a novel enrapturing today's society so in the future people can look back and see how we live our lives. Literature is a big part of culture and a big field of study. It's crazy to think that what is commonplace to us today will be strange and old to those in the future.


The 'Jazz Age' and life in the 1920's clearly shaped and defined Fitzgerald's life. He had a life long alcohol problem and lived an extravagant lifestyle that left him financially bankrupt. In many ways he is Jay Gatsby from his novel: both served in the war, had crazy lifestyles, and weren't pleased with their life.


Fitzgerald's novels also provided inspiration for many later authors such as T. S. Eliot and Charles Jackson. One great writer can cause of wave of amazing literature.

Fitzgerald's novels

This Side of Paradise (1920)

Fitzgerald began writing This Side of Paradise after he returned home from being in the army. He worked hard to get it published so Zelda would marry him; she was worried he wouldn't be able to provide for them. The novel begins right before World War I and ends shortly after in the early 1920's. The main character, Amory is in almost every way representative of Fitzgerald. Almost all of the characters and events can be clearly traced back to Fitzgerald's life. It goes through many events and times of Fitzgerald's life and his personal thoughts and feelings. The whole novel conveys the shifts on society and cultural norms occurring in America entering "the Jazz Age". Notable themes throughout the book are that of love, class, and prominence.


The novel follows young Amory, a boy obsessed with ego and personality, from his childhood to adult years. He does whatever he can to be at the top of the social ladder and has a huge persona. He attends Princeton, what he viewed as the school of gentlemen, and gets terrible grades due to his extensive social life. Often going to parties with his love Isabelle, instead of class, he does not do well in school. He is drafted into World War I, but the novel does not take place during war, instead it picks back up after the war is over. He has a new love, Rosalind, but he's broke and it doesn't last long. Eventually at the end of the novel he is alone, but he knows who he truly is. This a very close narrative to Fitzgerald's actually life, part of the reason why the first hand point of view is so vivid and enrapturing.


Today many view The Great Gatsby as Fitzgerald's best novel, but in his lifetime it was This Side of Paradise. However, many people today do appreciate the timeless love themes and the poetic style used. The novel would be appreciated less if it was written before it was because it would probably be considered to scandalous, risqué, and somewhat taboo. The novel was written in a time of rapidly shifting morals in America.


The novel is very strange to read at first. Fitzgerald uses numerous ways to tell the story: poems, firsthand narratives, letters. It can be very disjunct at points and is basically a collection of short stories with similar themes.


His writing style is much more romanticized and poetic than Hawthorne or Larsen. Fitzgerald's flow, lyrical style, idealistic themes, and romantic language set him apart.

From This Side of Paradise

"He became aware that he had not an ounce of real affection for Isabelle, but her coldness piqued him. He wanted to kiss her, kiss her a lot, because then he knew he could leave in the morning and not care." (Pg. 85)


"He's the first contemporary I've ever met whom I'll admit is my superior in mental capacity." (pg. 121)


"It's just--us. We're pitiful, that's all. The very qualities I love you for are the ones that will always make you a failure." (pg. 181)


"Very few things matter and nothings matters very much." (pg. 247)


"'I know myself,' he cried, 'but that is all'". (pg. 261)

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Historiography

"F Scott Fitzgerald and the Age of Excess" - Gilder Lehman Institute of American History - by Joshua Zeitz


Joshua Zeitz in his article wishes to portray how the literature of Fitzgerald and the history of America are intertwined. Represented by Amory in his book (participial phrase), F Scott had his world crash to a screaming halt at the start of World War I, just as with the rest of the nation. This is written by him in his novels. Not just one novel, all of his novels and short stories have historical significance (periodic sentence). Whether it's World War I in This Side of Paradise or the rise of Hollywood in The Love of the Last Tycoon. Zeitz discusses this in detail which proves one important fact: Fitzgerald's novels are as much a study in history as they are one in English. The novels of Francis Scott Fitzgerald are still highly appreciated and relevant because of the historical themes, many of which still apply today. Just like his characters were living in a time of new comfort and inventions, so are we; these novels are so amazing because of the relevant themes and messages that speak to us even today in the tweet first century.

Works Cited

"F. Scott Fitzgerald." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2015.

"F. Scott Fitzgerald." - Biography and Works. Search Texts, Read Online. Discuss. Jalic, Inc., n.d.

Web. 12 Mar. 2015.

"F Scott Fitzgerald." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.

"F. Scott Fitzgerald | Biography - American Writer." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.

"F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Age of Excess." Gilder Lehman Institue of American History. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.