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Fitzgerald's Life

A short look at Fitzgerald's life and the influences to his literary works

?Fitzgerald?s life is a tragic example of both sides of the American Dream - the joys of young love, wealth and success, and the tragedies associated with excess and failure.? (SC.EDU)
Inheriting his name from another famous American, a distant cousin who authored the Star Spangled Banner, F. Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul Minnesota. Fitzgerald was the son of Edward Fitzgerald, a failed wicker furniture salesman and Mary ?Mollie? McQuillian, an Irish immigrant.
Even at a young age Fitzgerald expressed an anxious desire to write stories and began enthusiastically writing detective stories for his high school newspaper. Though he was accepted to Princeton, he dropped out to pursue his eternal obsession.
When Fitzgerald?s first novel was rejected by Charles Scribner?s Sons, he did not lose hope and revised it, but again was rejected. At about this time he was also enlisted in the army and after being shipped to Montgomery, Alabama in 1918 met his to be wife Zelda Sayre. ?Fitzgerald was engaged to marry yet another enchanting girl, Zelda Sayre of Montgomery, Alabama, the daughter of a judge and by all accounts a belle of shockingly unconventional behavior. Together, they lived a quite colorful life of parties and money spending.? (SC.EDU). During the era in which Fitzgerald lived, the jazz age, extravagant parties were common. ?So began a round of parties that sometimes went on for several days.? (Vot. 116)
Fitzgerald?s income failed to attract Zelda and marriage was postponed until Fitzgerald?s first submitted work was accepted renaming his story This Side of Paradise, providing Zelda?s desire for a rich and famous lifestyle. For a time, Fitzgerald remained as a public socialite submitting numerous short-stories for magazines and The Saturday Evening Post.
Three years later, after his second novel The Beautiful and the Damned and at the time of their only child, Scottie, Fitzgerald released his best known work: The Great Gatsby. ??which is everywhere recognized as a masterpiece of twentieth century American fiction.? (TCLC.VOL.1)
Due to his novels downward progression in popularity he began drinking excessively. In an essay Fitzgerald depicts his Crack Up, ??hopelessly in debt, unable to write, nearly estranged from

his wife and daughter, and incapacitated by excessive drinking and poor physical health.? (Schoer.213) Literary critic Shoer proceeds to say, ?This cool analysis of a nervous breakdown and the emotional exhaustion which followed is already a classic of literary self-revelation? (213) At the end of his life Fitzgerald wrote to John Bishop back in New York. ?Zelda?s been sick in bed for five weeks, poor child, and only now is looking up.? His letter began with the admission. ?I am quite drunk.? And toward the end, the complaint, ?Oh Christ! I?m sobering up? (Mellow. 263) Fitzgerald died at the age of 44.
It was characteristic of Fitzgerald to transform his own experiences into his many short stories. ?Both Fitzgerald?s life and his work have been seen as a study in the pursuit of an elusive American dream? (TCLC. Vol.1) Most of his works dealt with the life of wealth and fame and the disappointments faced in the attempt to enter the elite aristocracy fabricated by the ?disillusionment of America in the 1920?s? With Fitzgerald comes the attached depictions of the Jazz age, the 1920?s. His life closely resembled the fictitious existence in the many stories he put in writing. He yearned to belong in the high status group yet he placidly criticizes the unabashed haughty feelings of the elite and privileged members of such aristocracy. The influences of Fitzgerald transformed from his need for acceptance by the ?high class? and love for Zelda to the works that successfully failed to reach their potential at the time of their release, eventually leading him to death without ever earning the credibility and recognition it holds today.

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