F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of the most influential writers of modern day society. He holds this title because he wrote about things that drive people’s everyday life. He wrote in two different periods that were very significant in the social development of America. These two periods of time symbolized not only the generation that he was writing about, but it also speaks to the present day generation. The first period that he wrote in was called the Jazz Age. The Jazz Age took place in the years between 1920 and 1929.
This period of time was also called the Roaring Twenties because this period of time was a time of great economic prosperity for the United States, as it was also a period of great wealth for many private businesses in America. In relation to Fitzgerald, this was a time when was recognized as a great writer and his career took off from there. The reason why his career took off at this point in time was because he began to write about the American Dream. The American Dream was a representation of what people needed to have a good life. The American Dream had two goals.
The first goal is the achievement of professional success or wealth. The second goal of the American Dream is the fulfillment of love. To achieve the American Dream a person must have accomplished both goals. The theme of the American Dream was a representation of Fitzgerald’s struggle to get the love of his life Zelda to marry him. Fitzgerald met Zelda while he was in World War I and he fell in love with her. The catch for Zelda, though, was that she would not marry a man that did not make any money. So, after his career took off she finally agreed to marry him.
During the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald wrote a great deal about the American Dream and how the wealth corrupted the idea of love. He also wrote about how many of his male characters had love for the women of their dreams, but they just did not have the wealth to fulfill the American Dream. This is because he may have believed that many people in his generation loved money more than androgynous couples loved each other. He felt that money did not buy happiness, it only enhanced it. In addition, he also tried to tell people through his writing to try and not let your possessions possess you.
He wrote about all of these things because he felt that people were losing a grip on their sense of reality. One story that Fitzgerald wrote in the Jazz Age, in which the American Dream plays a significant role in, is a story he wrote in 1920, called “May Day. ” This story takes place in May of 1919, when the last of the soldiers came back from World War I. It involves the “friendship” between Phillip Dean and Gordon Sterrett. This story also involves the relationship between Gordon and his girlfriend Jewel (which is such an ironic name because she is not a Jewel at all).
The main purpose of the story is to show the bad effects in chasing the American Dream. There is Gordon a very depressed man with no future, who is being blackmailed into marriage by Jewel. The “friendship” between Gordon and Dean is not a friendship at all. Fitzgerald is trying to show that Dean, who is very successful, does not want to be associated with Gordon, who is a disease in Dean’s eyes. He shows us this when they are both in the room discussing Gordon’s situation. Gordon asks for money and Dean disgusted with Gordon throws five dollars at Gordon.
This in turn makes Gordon unwanted in Dean’s world because it is symbolized by the “IN” and “OUT” signs worn by Peter and Dean towards the end of the story. This is hard for Gordon to accept because he used to be a part of the “IN” crowd, but now he is an outsider. So, later on in the story Gordon became drunk at the party that was at Delmonico’s and he was so drunk he eventually married Jewel. When he wakes up in the morning and sees what has happened, he began to feel imprisoned by her. The story concludes by Gordon taking a taxi back home and shooting himself in the head while he leaned over his drawing materials.
The American Dream was not fulfilled in any sense because Gordon had no money, and he was never truly in love with Jewel. This story was written by Fitzgerald as a caution not only to himself, but also to others who are at first successful, but then suddenly fall in to some bad luck. The other period of time in which Fitzgerald wrote was the Great Depression. During this time Fitzgerald wrote about how the American Dream was just a false dream and that “No party lasts forever. ” In addition, this was a time when Fitzgerald sank into bankruptcy and alcoholism.
To make matters even worse, his wife was committed to an asylum. The stories that Fitzgerald wrote during this time tried to show the reality of the depression. He used fantasy in his fictional characters to help them forget about the reality that they were facing. He also incorporated the theme of the American Dream during this time as being unachievable at any cost because he thought it was pure fantasy during this time. This idea of fantasy to make things better than they really were was a main theme in most of his stories during the time of the depression.
One of his short stories that he wrote during the depression embody this failure of the American Dream and the fantasy of a true love with great wealth are shown in “Crazy Sunday,” which was written in 1932. This story, as in most of his stories, involve the American Dream, but it depicts the utter failure of it because of the fact that the American Dream is just a fantasy. The story takes place in a Hollywood and it involves an amateur actor/professional writer named Joel who is having an affair with his boss’ wife Stella.
The story is called “Crazy Sunday” because it is the only day off that the actors had during the depression, and it was also a day when actors and writers were not obligated to their boss’ wishes or demands. So it was the only day in which Joel could see Stella and make love to her so that he could avoid any kind of punishment from her husband, Miles, Joel’s boss. Stella still loves Miles though because when she finds out that he dies, she says that she still loves him and she cannot accept the fact that she died. She feels that she has lost her sense of security when Miles dies and she cannot accept that.
So, now she feels helpless because she cannot make her husband jealous anymore. To compensate for that, Stella temporarily pretends that Miles is not dead which confuses dream and reality with Joel. Even though Stella was cheating on Miles, she still loved him very much. Therefore, Joel does not achieve the American Dream because he realizes that Stella does not love him at all and at that point in his career he had no personal success, but maybe later on he will. Joel was an outsider in the story just as Gordon was in “May Day. ”
Throughout Fitzgerald’s fiction the underlying theme of the American Dream is portrayed as a goal which is more of a nightmare than a dream. He shows this from his writings in the Jazz Age, where people where much more inclined to be in love with their money and their possessions rather than loving their mate. He tried to show people their mistakes if they took the path they chose. For example, in “Crazy Sunday” he shows the grip that money has a hold on people through Gordon. Gordon was once an insider, but since he became an outsider he lost a grip on his sense of reality because he could not accept the fact that he did not have any money.
So, he becomes a very miserable soul because he let the possessions that he wants posses him. As for the writing he did during the depression, he also makes the American Dream look like somewhat of a fantasy, something that does not exist. He portrays this idea in “Crazy Sunday” by showing his readers the American Dream (Miles and Stella) and then the destruction of the dream (Miles’ death) and then finally the realization of the fact that there is no dream (Joel). He uses fantasy in his characters to hide the overall reality of the situation that they are in.
This relates to his life because he wanted to escape the utter reality that he had no money and his life was a mess, so he wrote about it. This does not mean that Fitzgerald was a failure. He is a great writer because he wants to help people understand that the American Dream is only a dream and that it is more of a nightmare than a dream because in his stories none of his main characters achieve the dream. Finally, it is safe to say that Fitzgerald, throughout all of his writing believed that the American Dream was only a myth.