F. Scott Key Fitzgerald

"I hope you live a life you're proud of."

Biography

Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He started his writing talent in St. Paul and New Jersey in his Preparatory Schools and then went on to go to Princeton University in 1913-1917. He wrote and finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and the Damned, The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night as well as many other short stories. He also started writing a fifth novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, but died of a heart attack before he could finish it. He was married to Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. He had one child named Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald. Before that, he had deployed as a second lieutenant in the army during World War 1, but was discharged because the war ended. Fitzgerald spent most of his life after that tending for his family and struggling to write books. He traveled the world looking for inspiration and writing short stories to pay for his debt in all the traveling and renting of mansions. Fitzgerald became a heavy alcoholic in the 1920's and that led to problems in the late 1930's. He also had recurring tuberculosis, which turned into a tubercular hemorrhage. He later had two heart attacks. He died at the age of 44.

Relation

I think F. Scott Fitzgerald would contrast well to Suzanne Collins. He wrote books of realistic fiction. His most famous one is The Great Gatsby. That one is all about the life of a young man who has become rich and famous in the Roaring 20's. It is written from the perspective of his friend Nicholas Carraway. It is about Young Jay Gatsby, a rich man in the Roaring 20's or "Jazz Age". He is known for his extravagant parties and the story goes behind the scenes to his horrible and treacherous history. It just magnifies what people did to get rich and what actually happened in their lives. I think that is way different from Suzanne Collins's Underland Chronicles. That is about a boy who falls through a sewer grate and ends up in a mystical city where people have never seen sunlight and there are massive bats and cockroaches and evil rats are trying to destroy them. He has come to be their hero, as it is written in a prophecy. Those are too different to start comparing. I think that when Fitzgerald wrote, he had an event in his lifetime and changed it a little and changed character names. That would explain him travelling and trying new things. I think when Collins writes, she thinks of events that are so unlikely to happen, but are fun to think about. I think when Fitzgerald wrote, it was a time of great cheer, the war was over. The colossal rush of the economy raised spirits, but most of the time, it was just getting closer to the Great Depression. And you can hear that in most of Fitzgerald's stories, as well as in The Great Gatsby:


“I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. He sends over a selection of things at the beginning of each season, spring and fall.” He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher — shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, and monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily “They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds.“It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such — such beautiful shirts before.”


Even though the story line isn't sad, you can hear the sadness. In this scene, Daisy is sad because the shirts make her realize that her relationship with Jay Gatsby has changed than when they were in college. It also makes her sad, because she fancies Gatsby, but is already married to Tom. In Gregor the Overlander, the story is more rushed. It has got you on the edge of your seat wanting to read more.


"Slowly it came into focus. A polished wall enclosed a large oval cavern about fifty feet high. The top of the oval was ringed with bleachers. Gregor's eyes traveled up the distant rows of people as he tried to find the ceiling. Instead, he found the athletes. A dozen bats were slowly spiraling to the top of the arena. They ranged in color from light yellow to black. Gregor guessed the smallest one had a wing span of fifteen feet. The crowd must have been watching them when he stumbled in, because the rest of the field area was empty."


The very big difference I see is that Collins will write the greatest things she imagines. Fitzgerald wrote about things that weren't an imagination, but reality.

Interesting Facts

  • Fitzgerald made up the term "Jazz Age" when he wrote the book "Tales of the Jazz Age"

  • Zelda Fitzgerald, his wife, wrote the book Save Me the Waltz when she was in the hospital. F. Scott Fitzgerald didn't like it because it had similar situations to the book he was writing, Tender is the Night. He made her revise the book. After multiple tries, he agreed that it was good enough to publish.

  • Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is the second cousin three times removed of Francis Scott Key (a.k.a the guy who wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner").

  • Ernest Hemingway became close friends with Scott, although he frequently criticized Zelda. Hemingway thought she was absolutely “insane” and claimed that she “encouraged her husband to drink so as to distract him from his writing.”

  • Fitzgerald, like many other great authors, died believing himself a failure.

  • Though an admitted alcoholic, Fitzgerald was proud of the fact that he wrote all his stories sober.

  • Fitzgerald wrote his first novel, The Romantic Egoist, during World War I, convinced that he would not survive the fighting.

Audio

The song in the link at the bottom of this page is called "Babes in the Woods" by Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton. I chose it because in This Side of Paradise Fitzgerald mentions the lyrics (it is taken from the musical "Very Good, Eddie"). Quoted from the book:


"Silence for a moment. Isabelle was quite stirred; she wound her handkerchief into a tight ball, and by the faint light that streamed over her, dropped it deliberately on the floor. Their hands touched for an instant, but neither spoke. Silences were becoming more frequent and more delicious. Outside another stray couple had come up and were experimenting on the piano in the next room. After the usual preliminary of 'chopsticks,' one of them started 'Babes in the Woods' and a light tenor carried the words into the den:

Give me your hand—
I'll understand
We're off to slumberland.


Isabelle hummed it softly and trembled as she felt Amory's hand close over hers ... ."

The first draft of The Great Gatsby.

Significance

Fitzgerald is one of the most famous writers, for the Jazz Age and Today. He finished four novels about the Roaring 20's and many other books. He was in the middle of his fifth novel when he died. His books made an impression on people that left them with feelings of great thought. You see, his books aren't just for enjoying. They tell a true story. Behind the names and additional details, these were lives people were living in the 20th century, right before the Great Depression. He is a very great writer who's legend will live on forever. You cannot have the "Jazz Age" without Fitzgerald. (You really can't. They called it the Jazz Age, because of "Tales of the Jazz Age" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.)

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

16 Babes in the Wood