F. Scott Fitzgerald
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is known as one of the most important American writers of his time. He wrote about the troubling time period in which he lived known as the Jazz Age. During this era people were either rich or dreamt of great wealth. Fitzgerald fell into the trap of wanting to be wealthy, and suffered great personal anguish because of these driving forces. I have chosen to write a term paper on F.Scott Fitzgerald. The goal of this presentation is to show F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life through his defeats and triumphs and how these situations affected his life as a writer.
Fitzgerald’s life started in the Midwestern part of the United States. On September 24, 1896, he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. F. Scott Fitzgerald was of Irish heritage on both sides and was distantly related to Francis Scott Key, for whom he is named, and to Maryland aristocracy. His parents, Edward Fitzgerald of the Glen Mary Farm near Rockville, Maryland and Mary McQuillan of St. Paul wed February 13, 1890 in Washington, D.C. Fitzgerald’s maternal grandfather was a very successful wholesale merchant. His grandfather’s early death and his father’s inability to keep a job, forced the family to be extremely dependent on the wealth of his grandfather’s estate. Fitzgerald attended the St. Paul Academy as a child. In 1911 he entered the Newman School in Hackensack, NJ. Growing up with a father who was out of work and who relied on his wife’s inheritance gave Fitzgerald a mixed feeling of guilt and shame and yet he felt love for both his parents. These inner conflicts in his early life could have contributed to his inability to manage his finances, along with his constant obsession of gaining extreme wealth.
Fitzgerald later went to Princeton University, where writing and football were his main interests. It was there that he met friends Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop. Fitzgerald was too small to play football so he joined a fraternity called the triangle club, the second most prestigious cliche on campus, football being first. After Princeton, Fitzgerald was quoted as saying to a friend “I want to be the greatest writer who ever lived don’t you (Bruccoli, 1981).” In 1917, Fitzgerald joined the army and prepared to fight in World War I. It was soon after his mobilization that he sold his first story to the Smart Set. This was the beginning of Fitzgerald’s passion for writing, and at this time Fitzgerald also met his future wife Zelda while serving in the army.
Unable to make sufficient money to win the love of Zelda and not being sent away to war encouraged Fitzgerald to go back to Minnesota to start on another book. This book was barely published, but it persuaded Zelda to marry him. So on the third of April of 1920 in St. Patrick’s Cathedral New York City they were married.
Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise” sold 20,000 copies in one week. Fitzgerald was excited about the money he could make with his writings and this started Fitzgerald’s habit of writing a series of short stories after each novel. Then Fitzgerald began experimenting with his writing talent. Fitzgerald wrote his first and only play in November 1923 called “The Vegetable or from President to Postman” it flopped leaving Fitzgerald broken hearted and unmotivated. At this time the Fitzgerald’s toured Europe and began their history of drinking and destroying their lives.
In July, 1922, Fitzgerald wrote a note to a friend saying “I want to see where I stand. I want to write something new something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned (Bruccoli, 1981).” After many attempts at writing a masterpiece, on April 11, 1925, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was released.
The Fitzgeralds continued to roam Europe with daughter “Scottie.” Fitzgerald was unable to manage his finances and was constantly in debt. He was always living beyond his means and borrowing money from his next unwritten story. During this period of Fitzgerald’s life he was relying on short stories as the main and only income. It has been figured by Matt Bruccoli that during Fitzgerald’s life span he made around $386,382 an average of $21,466.
In 1930, Zelda had her first nervous breakdown. She was institutionalized as Scott tried