Why F. Scott Fitzgerald Wrote The Great Gatsby
On a warm summer day in 1924 when F. Scott Fitzgerald sat down to start his next project, he had no idea that he would be writing one of the greatest novels in history. In the summer and fall of 1924, Fitzgerald spent his time in France writing a novel that would eventually become known as The Great Gatsby. While the novel is loved by almost all who read it, it is fully understood by few, for to fully understand "Gatsby" one must know its author as well.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Son of Edward Fitzgerald and Mary McQuillian, he was named after his second cousin three times removed, Francis Scott Key, the author of The Star Spangle Banner ("A brief life of Fitzgerald" 1). The Fitzgeralds lived quite comfortably on Mary McQuillian's father's inheritance of $250,000. While hitting some hard times, his mother's name and the appearance of money is what had kept the Fitzgeralds in "the country club set" even though there was no constant source of income. Fitzgerald said it best when he stated that he lived in "a house below average, on a street above average" ("Introduction to F. Scott Fitzgerald" 1-2).
Trying to provide their son with the best education possible the Fitzgerald's sent their son to the Newman School, a Catholic Prep School in New Jersey from 1911-1913. After graduating from the Newman School, Fitzgerald entered New Jersey's prestigious Princeton University. While at Princeton he wrote lyrics for musicals that the Triangle Club, Princeton's theater group, would perform. Also, Fitzgerald was a contributor of the Princeton Tiger, as well as the Nassau Literary Magazine, both campus publications. During his senior year, Fitzgerald was put on academic probation, though he was a frequent contributor to many school activities he had neglected his studies ("A brief life of Fitzgerald" 1).
After leaving Princeton, while on academic probation in 1917, F. Scott Fitzgerald had decided to join the United States Army. With World War I going on as he entered, Fitzgerald, convinced that he would die in battle quickly wrote his first novel The Romantic Egoist. When he got back a letter from his publisher it was marked rejected. In 1918, after being stationed at Camp Sheridan in Montgomery, Alabama, Fitzgerald had rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and had fallen in love with the very rich, very beautiful, 18 year-old Zelda Sayre. Still stationed at Camp Sheridan, Fitzgerald's publisher once again rejected the revised edition of The Romantic Egoist that Fitzgerald had so diligently worked on. Never actually seeing any combat time the now engaged Fitzgerald was discharged in 1919 ("A brief life of Fitzgerald" 1).
Fitzgerald moved with Zelda, his fiancé, to New York City leaving army life behind to seek his fortune. He found a job in the advertisement business; however he was unsuccessful ("A brief life...