Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer during the Roaring Twenties, also known as the Jazz Age, who was most known for writing The Great Gatsby, a novel that described the effect of wealth during his lifetime. His writings focused primarily on the American Dream—which was extremely sought after during his era—and the methods of approach it took to achieve it. Overall, critics agree that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life and works, which defined the Jazz Age, were symbolic of the Roaring Twenties and that he is credited as being one of the most important American authors of the 20th century.
According to Katie de Koster in Readings on F. Scot Fitzgerald, F. Scott Fitzgerald was named after Francis Scott Key, a distant relative of his and writer of “The Star Spangled Banner”. He was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota (de Koster 13). His parents were Edward and Mary McQuillan Fitzgerald, who was the daughter of an Irish immigrant and came from an affluent background (de Koster 14). Fitzgerald mentioned that his father’s refined lifestyle and “Confederate sympathy” has influenced the way he behaved as a child (de Koster 13). He also remarked that his mother embarrassed him because she was unattractive to him and old (de Koster 14). On the other hand, Fitzgerald was the third child in his family although his two older sisters died during his pregnancy; as a result, he was greatly spoiled by his mother and was given much attention (de Koster 15). However, his spoiling only increased his resentment towards her (de Koster 15).
Unfortunately, Scott’s father lost his furniture business in St. Paul and the family experienced a period of several relocations with the first move To Buffalo, New York on April 1898 where Fitzgerald’s father worked as a soap salesman (de Koster 15). The writer’s only sibling, Annabel, was born when the family made a temporary move to Syracuse, New York from 1901 to 1903 (de Koster 15). Afterwards, they returned to St. Paul where Scott’s father worked in the McQuillan business and the children lived with their grandmother while the parents lived with a friend (de Koster 16). With the help of the McQuillan family fortune, Fitzgerald was able to enroll in a decent school and his family established a small place in society (de Koster 16).
As a student in school, Scott tapped into his writing passion and was an enthusiastic writer and constantly wrote in all classes during school (de Koster 16). He once said, “I wrote all through every class in school in the back of my geography book and first year Latin and on the margins of themes and declensions and mathematics problems” (de Koster 16). Consequently, his mediocre grades resulted in his parents transferring him to a strict boarding school—in which he wrongly believed his appearance and manners would make him popular (de Koster 16). Nonetheless, Fitzgerald met Father Sigourney Fay who helped cultivate the student’s writing. When it came time for college,...