In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald pictured his and millions’ of Americans lives in the 1920s as an amusement park glittering with excitement as people attempted to forget reality and finally as their illusions were ultimately shattered by reality when the lights went out. Americans took many rides in this park, including those of alcohol, love, and money. The rides stopped, and they realized that their dreams could not be bought and that play could not last forever. Some would never return to the park, but many finally did come back with a little more common sense and reality.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota. His parents suffered disillusionment that unfortunately rubbed off on him: his father could barely keep a job, and his mother showered an enormous amount of affection on him. Fitzgerald never put forth much effort into his academic studies, which caused him a problem when he decided to attend Princeton. In 1913, after failing an entrance examination twice, he managed to beg Princeton officials to grant him probationary admission; nevertheless, he still did not study enough. Fitzgerald did not graduate college but joined the army as a second lieutenant. During his military service, Fitzgerald began his first novel, This Side of Paradise.
Also while on military duty, Fitzgerald met an eighteen-year-old Alabama girl named Zelda Sayre. They became engaged, but Zelda did not wish to wait on Fitzgerald
to make his fortune. A week after Fitzgerald published his first novel, he married Zelda in New York. The couple became well-recognized as Britten and Mathless pointed out: “If he was king, the queen was his beautiful, witty and unstable wife Zelda. The royal couple became almost as well-known for their madcap antics as for his writings” ( 41). The two partied and drank almost constantly and traveled to exotic European locales. He was an alcoholic, and she suffered severe mental problems; they had one child, a daughter named Frances Scott.
Fitzgerald was a fairly prolific writer. He wrote several novels, essays, and even a play. He was stereotyped as being an irresponsible writer because of his alcoholism, but the truth actually was that “he was a painstaking reviser whose fiction went through layers of drafts” (Bruccoli 2). In his later years, Fitzgerald tried writing scripts in Hollywood, where he died of a heart attack on December 21, 1940. His last and unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, “revealed the depth and perseverance of his creative talents” (Geismar 33). Critics did not fully realize this talent until the 1960s.
Americans after World War I (1914-1918) were ready for a change. They had watched family and friends die in the “war to end all wars,” and many wanted to forget this terrible time. They did not care about Europe’s problems; they only wanted happiness, no matter the cost. The modern world was upon them, sparkling with...