Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald On September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota, one of the most famous American novelist and short story writer was born. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is famous for writing novels and short stories about the life in the Jazz Age. The Jazz Age was a time period in the 1920s when jazz music and dancing became extremely popular. During his Hollywood years, Fitzgerald married his wife Zelda, where they partied and had an entertaining life together. Their friends consisted of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Beach, and Pablo Picasso, who all were known during the Jazz Age. Although Fitzgerald went through a tough time with his wife and his drinking problem, he certainly assisted many writers who are famous today because of his help. With the skill of a reporter and ability of an artist, he captured the heart of a period when flappers and gin were the symbols of the carefree madness of an age.
Born to middle-class parents, Fitzgerald was put into private schools while he was growing up. His parents, Mollie Fitzgerald and Edward Fitzgerald placed him in Princeton in 1913. In 1917, he left Princeton to join the army, since he was placed on academic probation in his junior year. While stationed in Montgomery, Alabama, he fell in love with the daughter of a local judge, Zelda Sayre. Scott wrote his first novel, “This Side of Paradise” during this time and once he published it in 1920, the novel became an instant success. New York City became Scott and Zelda’s home after they got married, where they were notorious for their party lifestyle because they were young, good looking, and enjoyed being the center of attention. In 1922, he published his second novel, “The Beautiful and the Damned”, which was about an artist and his wife who are ruined by their immoral ways of life. Fitzgerald's characters are complex, especially in their marriage and intimacy, and the book is believed to be largely based on Fitzgerald's relationship and marriage with Zelda. Fitzgerald presents the main character Anthony Patch’s wife, Gloria, as a woman whose urge is nothing more than to catch a husband. After her marriage to Anthony, Gloria's sole ability is to slide into indolence and alcoholism, while her husband's sole vocation is to wait for his inheritance. Comparing “The Beautiful and the Damned” to “A Moveable Feast”, there is not much difference in the way Gloria and Anthony act to the way Zelda and Scott act toward each other. Later in Scott and Zelda’s life, their relationship starts to get unstable. Alcohol, fighting, and Zelda’s breakdowns force them to have a dysfunctional connection. In April 1930, Zelda was admitted to a Sanatorium in France where the doctor diagnosed her with schizophrenia. She was later moved to a psychiatric facility in Prangins on the shores of Lake Geneva. “The Great Gatsby”, published in 1925, is one of the reasons why Scott Fitzgerald has an inspiring reputation today. This novel is the foremost classic American novel, and scholarly and popular interest in Fitzgerald's life and his work remain high and continue to produce fresh approaches” (Barks). “The Great Gatsby” is an insight into the flaws of real life during the Roaring Twenties. The novel is a symbol for the Jazz Age, a time of extraordinary wealth and talent. Scott uses many symbols for the meaning of the book. Once put together, Scott is saying that American idealism and spirituality have been corrupted by material possessions and wealth. In Cathy Barks “F. Scott Fitzgerald Critical Reception,” she expresses how critics think about how well Fitzgerald has achieved in writing: Gilbert Seldes wrote, “Fitzgerald has more than matured; he has mastered his talents and gone soaring in a beautiful flight" (239). “Some reviewers found the novel melodramatic and some found it lurid, but most of the prominent reviewers agreed that “Gatsby” was a beautifully crafted and moving story that captured the social milieu