F. Scott Fitzgerald

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  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Life
      • It seems likely much of Fitzgerald's interest in society life began in his youth in Minnesota when he would play and associate with the rich children of the neighborhood — dancing, sailing, swimming, sledding — all the time knowing he was never entirely a part of their society.
      • In some scholars' opinions, stories of Scott's drinking earned him the reputation for an "irresponsible writer," which kept him from being taken seriously by the literary community.
      • Fitzgerald was only 44 when he died an alcoholic, struggling to write and stay relevant
    • His Wife
      • Another major obstacle to the Fitzgeralds' domestic happiness came to light in 1930, when Zelda experienced her first of three mental breakdowns. Although she had been troubled during much of their marriage, by 1930, Zelda's condition had worsened such that she was institutionalized.
      • Although he remained married to Zelda until the end, her mental illness redefined their marriage. Zelda required more care than Scott could give, and so he worked hard to keep her comfortably hospitalized (in fact, many of the couple's later debts resulted from Zelda's institutionalization).
      • Scott eventually met and fell in love with Sheilah Graham, a movie columnist, with whom he spent the last few years of his life. Graham's support and encouragement helped put Scott's stalling career back onto the path of creative productivity.
    • Reasons for writing The Great Gatsby
      • The Great Gatsbywas published in 1925, when Fitzgerald was 29 years old, and had mixed reviews and mediocre sales.  Fitzgerald was only 44 when he died an alcoholic, struggling to write and stay relevant, as unsold boxes ofGatsby rotted away in a warehouse.
      • Having become a celebrity, Fitzgerald fell into a wild, reckless life-style of parties and decadence, while desperately trying to please Zelda by writing to earn money.
        • Similarly, Gatsby amasses a great deal of wealth at a relatively young age, and devotes himself to acquiring possessions and throwing parties that he believes will enable him to win Daisy’s love
      • Like Nick in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald found this new lifestyle seductive and exciting, and, like Gatsby, he had always idolized the very rich. Now he found himself in an era in which unrestrained materialism set the tone of society, particularly in the large cities of the East.
        • Even so, like Nick, Fitzgerald saw through the glitter of the Jazz Age to the moral emptiness and hypocrisy beneath, and part of him longed for this absent moral center. In many ways, The Great Gatsby represents Fitzgerald’s attempt to confront his conflicting feelings about the Jazz Age.
    • Other titles considered for the novel
      • “Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires”
      • “Trimalc-hio in West Egg”
      • “Trimalchio”
      • “On the Road to West Egg”
      • “Gold-hatted Gatsby”
      • “The High-bouncing Lover"

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