Francis 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 very hard to write his next novel. Much of her
time was spent at Johns Hopkins University. Fitzgerald spent much time writing
Tender is the Night. Tender is the Night is based mostly upon Zelda\'s
schizophrenia and her fifteen months in a Swedish sanitarium. This book has its
characters