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A Diamond as Big as the Ritz through literary elements

Fitzgerald utilizes literary techniques in bringing to life a precise perspective on disillusionment and visionary delight

In the beautifully crafted story, A Diamond as Big as the Ritz, Fitzgerald inscribes words with the up most elegance. He puts to use striking adjectives, constructing a wonderful palate of colors, images and sounds. With such a graceful tale appears the selfishness fastened to the existence of wealth and the undying pursuit to preserve that way of life. Included is the disillusionment of love, riches and happiness.
After befriending a fellow very well to do prepatory student at the elite St. Midas School, in New York, John T. Unger begins a journey of unimaginable treasures and all the comforts that are attached. Though he has accompanied numerous friends to their outstanding mansions none has prepared him for the magnificence he will experience from his new friend Percy and the Washington family. Before ever arriving Percy brags, ??my father is by far the richest man in the world.? He also boasts, ??my father has a diamond as big as the Ritz Carlton Hotel.? Percy explains that his family is in the possession of the only five square miles yet to be discovered in the U.S. He clarifies the lengths his father has gone to in keeping the land secluded from all other life. Yet Percy?s father takes countless precautions there is one thing he fears. ?There?s only one thing my father?s afraid of, only one thing in the world that could be used to find us out.? ?What?s that?? And sinking his voice to a whisper, Percy breathed, ?Aero planes.? Upon arriving John gazes upon the brilliant home in astonishment.
?Full in the light of the stars an exquisite chateaux rose from the borders of the lake, climbed in marbled radiance half the height of an adjoining mountain, then melted in grace, in perfect symmetry, in translucent feminine languor, into the mast darkness of a forest of pine. The many towers, the slender tracery of the sloping parapets, the chiseled wonder of a thousand yellow windows with their oblongs and heptagons and triangles of golden light, the shattered softness of the intersecting planes of star shine and blue shade all trembled on John?s spirit like a cord of music.?
After falling asleep and waking John apologizes for his disbelief that Percy?s statement of his father?s possession of a diamond as big as the Ritz was factual. Yet to John?s utter amazement Percy restates, ?It?s that mountain you know, it?s small for a mountain, but for about fifty foot of sod and gravel on top its solid diamond, one diamond, perfect without a flaw.? John again falls into a deep dreamy sleep.
Something Fitzgerald repeatedly utilizes in his many stories is the contrast within his real life and that of his stories. In Fitzgerald?s personal life he demanded high pay for his works supplying ample revenue for his glamorous and pricy lifestyle. In turn one could make the obvious connection of wealth in real society and the figures in this novel and the depths one will go to preserve that way of life. ?Cruelty doesn?t exist where self preservation is involved? In the Diamond as Big as the Ritz, Braddock Washington shows his desperation when he attempts to bribe God, who would return life as it so recently was. This is also apparent in Fitzgerald?s life after his novels failed to provide him sufficient funds, and turned to drinking in hopes that his problems would vanish.
At the time Fitzgerald submitted A Diamond as Big as the Ritz editors found it ??baffling, blasphemous, and objectionably satiric about wealth.? (SC.EDU) In response to the initial rejection and the questioning of why he wrote A Diamond as Big as the Ritz he replied, ?It was designed utterly for my own amusement. I was in a mood characterized by a perfect craving for luxury, and the story began as an attempt to feed that craving on imaginary foods.? The literary critic, Arthur Mizener, describes Fitzgerald?s remarkable skills in creating brilliant and surreal scenes. ?Fitzgerald was an artist rather than a philosopher, and he was therefore at his best when creating images, not when thinking about them.?
From Fitzgerald?s pen comes his extensively involved diction and vibrant imagery. The imagery reveals the indulgence that one falls into. ?The honeyed luxury that clasped his body added to the illusion of sleep. Jewels, fabrics, wines and metals blurred before his eyes into a sweat mist? It may be concluded that Fitzgerald exhausts every word imaginable to paint a vivid portrait of such elaborate luxury, yet instead remains constant throughout this account. ?John remembers that first night as a daze of many colors, of quick sensory impressions, of music soft as a voice in love and of the beauty of things, lights, shadows and motions and faces.? The author takes each and every ample opportunity to elegantly elaborate even the most minute facet that many would simply pass by. ??her pink bare feet scattered the dew before them as she came??
One of Fitzgerald?s most powerful tools is his observance in the disillusionment associated with life. From love, riches and the ultimate pursuit of happiness, Fitzgerald points out that the mind will at first obscure things they know are too good to be true. The connection can be made with a later Fitzgerald work, The Crack Up ??the failure of life?s illusion? In the story A Diamond as Big as the Ritz, John Unger discovers the gast and inescapable fate mandatory of all the guests the Washington?s entertain. After falling in love with the selfish Kismine Washington and the discovery of his inevitable doom, John is shocked to hear Kismine?s response. ?We can?t let such an inevitable thing like death stand in the way of enjoying life while we still have it? John retaliates with his understandable fury. ?If you haven?t any more pride and decency than to have an affair with a man who you know is no better than a corpse I don?t want anything more to do with you.? He now sees how love is nothing but a ?drunken delusion? and it?s a ?shabby gift?
Fitzgerald illustrates, neigh orchestrates a world too great to be conceived by even an ordinary heir of immense regality and wealth. His application of his own life and observance for delusion coupled with his extensively involved diction and effervescent imagery have transformed a peculiar story into a peculiar and amazingly beautiful story. This account exemplifies the epiphany of luxury, disillusionment and visionary wonder.

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