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Horrors Of Wwi Reflected In F. Scott Fitzgerald's Writing

3156 words - 13 pages

Certain authors, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, wanted to reflect the horrors that the world had experienced not a decade ago. In 1914, one of the most destructive and pointless wars in history plagued the world: World War I. This war destroyed a whole generation of young men, something one would refer to as the “Lost Generation”. Modernism was a time that allowed the barbarity of the war to simmer down and eventually, disappear altogether. One such author that thrived in this period was F. Scott Fitzgerald, a young poet and author who considered himself the best of his time. One could say that this self-absorption was what fueled his drive to be the most famous modernist the world had seen. As The New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean mentions in her literary summary of Fitzgerald’s works, “I didn’t know till fifteen that there was anyone in the world except me, and it cost me plenty” (Orlean xi). One of the key factors that influenced and shaped Fitzgerald’s writing was World War I, with one of his most famous novels, This Side Of Paradise, being published directly after the war in 1920. Yet his most famous writing was the book, The Great Gatsby, a novel about striving to achieve the American dream, except finding out when succeeding that this dream was not a desire at all. Fitzgerald himself lived a life full of partying and traveling the world. According to the Norton Anthology of American Literature, “In the 1920’s and 1930’s F. Scott Fitzgerald was equally equally famous as a writer and as a celebrity author whose lifestyle seemed to symbolize the two decades; in the 1920’s he stood for all-night partying, drinking, and the pursuit of pleasure while in the 1930’s he stood for the gloomy aftermath of excess” (Baym 2124). A further key factor that shaped Fitzgerald’s writing was the prosperity that came after the war. Nicknamed the “Roaring 20’s”, it was a time of economic success and the enjoyment of life. Fitzgerald’s writing was the decade that came after, the 1930’s, otherwise known as the Great Depression. After the Stock Market crash in 1929, America went into a state of complete bankruptcy, where the unemployment rate reached a high of 25%. In 1934, at the height of the Depression, Fitzgerald wrote another one of his literary masterpieces, Tender is the Night. Yet by this time in his life, although he had received success from his previous novels, Fitzgerald was in significant debt. Also, since the beginning of his college career, Fitzgerald started to develop a drinking problem, which would affect him throughout his entire life. Fitzgerald ended up settling in Hollywood, Los Angeles, where he would later die on December 21, 1940 (Baym 2124). Fitzgerald died right before the start of another terrible war: World War II. Readers could surmise that the age of realism died with Fitzgerald himself.
Both The Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise were published in the early 1920’s, Paradise being in 1920 and Gatsby in 1925. Not a decade...

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