F. Scott Fitzgerald “The Greaty Gatsby”
F. Scott Fitzgerald • Born September 24, 1896 • named after ancestor, Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner.” • Intelligent, but did poorly in school; sent to boarding school, later enrolled at Princeton in 1913. • Never graduating, Fitzgerald enlisted in the army in 1917.
Became a second lieutenant, stationed at Camp Sheridan in Montgomery, Alabama. • Met and fell in love with a 17 year-old girl, Zelda. • Zelda finally agreed to marry him, but made him wait until he could prove to be a success. • Published This Side of Paradise in 1920, and did so. • Published The Great Gatsby, his most famous novel, in 1925.
The Roaring Twenties dissolved into the Great Depression • Zelda suffered a nervous breakdown • Fitzgerald turned to alcoholism • Published Tender is the Night in 1934 • Sold short stories to TheSaturday Evening Post • Left for Hollywood in 1937 to write screenplays • While working on a novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, in 1940, Fitzgerald (age 44) suffered a heart attack and died.
The Great Gatsby: Setting • Long Island’s North Shore and New York City from spring to autumn in 1922. • (fictional) West Egg and East Egg, Long Island. Next to Nick’s rental house is Gatsby’s mansion.
The Great Gatsby: The Roaring Twenties • A period of economic prosperity, also known as “The Jazz Age.”
The “flapper” The Charleston Art Deco – linear symmetry
Rise of the stock market • Decayed social and moral values • increase in the national wealth and newfound materialism • A person from any social background could, potentially, make a fortune • families with old wealth scorned the newly rich
Themes • The Decline of the American Dream • originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness • easy money and relaxed social values have corrupted this dream • The Hollowness of the Upper Class • Newly rich greatly different from aristocracy (old money)