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The Life of Fitzgerald

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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

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Lovely Louis and Abigail Saint – Juste
English 1
Ms. M. Jeanty
November 26, 2007
In the early jazzy years, there was a small restaurant where people were dancing to a new jazz number. They were laughing, eating, chatting, and enjoying themselves. In the mist of all the laughter, there sat a man in a dark corner writing vigorously. His name was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. He was an American author of novels and many short stories. He was also recognized as one of the greatest authors in the twentieth century.
Fitzgerald’s Early Years Francis Scott K. Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896. He was named after his famous distant cousin Francis Scott Key, who was the author of the National Anthem. His father, Edward Fitzgerald, and his mother were both Catholic and of Irish descent. However they both came from different societies. Fitzgerald’s mother came from a background where money was everything, such as: position and stability. And his father came from a background where discipline was the most importance. As a result all the attitudes and manners that were established in Fitzgerald’s character came from his father and all the concerns of stability in the society came from his mother. Between the years of 1898-1901 and 1903- 1908 he lived in Buffalo, New York. And this is when he attended Nardin Academy. However when his father was fired from his job, his family had to move back to Minnesota, where he now went to school at St. Paul Academy in St. Paul. He went to school there for three years. Although the reason for the family to go back to Minnesota was not a happy one, its effect was good, because around this time Fitzgerald created his first piece of literature at his school at the age of thirteen. After that great event he left St. Paul to go to a prep school in Hackensack, New Jersey. Subsequent to this he went to Princeton. Seeing as he was a good writer, he got the chance to become a member of the Princeton Class of 1917 although he neglected his studies for his literary apprenticeship. As a member of the Princeton Triangle Club, he wrote many of the scripts and lyrics that they performed. He was also a contributor to the Princeton Tiger and the Nassau literary Magazine. Although his writing was improving he dropped out and joined the army in 1917 when the United States entered the World War 1. As soon as he enlisted, he became a second lieutenant in the infantry. Since he thought that he would die in the war he wrote his first book fast, “The Romantic Egotist”. Although it was praised by Charles Scribner’s Sons he rejected it. However the war ended.
Fitzgerald’s Family When Fitzgerald was assigned to Camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama, and that is where he fell in love with Zelda Sayre. She was the youngest daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court Judge. The two of them were engaged in 1919. Encouraged by this lovely romance Fitzgerald tried harder to make his novel better. When he sent it Scribner’s Sons, it was rejected again. Then he moved to New York City to try and make a foundation for Zelda. He started to write short stories, but he did not convince Zelda to stay with him. As a result she left him. For this reason he returned to his parents’ house. And that is where he revised, “‘The Romantic Egoist” and recast it as This Side of Paradise. Finally it was accepted by Scribner’s Sons in late 1919. Also Zelda and Fitzgerald were engaged again. The novel was then published in March 26, 1920. Fortunately it became one of the most popular books of the year. Fitzgerald and Zelda got married in New York at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on April 3, 1921. About a year later, Zelda found out that she was pregnant and for this reason Fitzgerald rushed The Beautiful and Damned. On the day of October 26, 1921 their only daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald was born. Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith became the only child because Zelda had an infection that damaged her reproductive organs.
The Jazz Age Many say that in the 1920s proved to be the most influential decade of Fitzgerald’s development. The Great Gatsby was known as Fitzgerald’s greatest masterpiece, which was published in 1925. And around that time he toured around Europe, mostly in Paris and the French Riviera. And there he met another author Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway greatly admired Fitzgerald as a professional writer. He especially admired The Great Gatsby. And in his own book he stated, “If he could write a book as fine as The Great Gatsby I was sure that he could write an even better one". He also expressed how he admired Fitzgerald when he prefaced his chapters in A Moveable Feast: His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless. (Wikipedia) Although Fitzgerald loved to write novels, only his first novel sold well enough for his family’s lifestyle. And for this reason he wrote mostly short stories for magazines and newspapers. But that had to change because Zelda got sick and was admitted to an insane asylum for schizophrenia. And this pressured Fitzgerald to get more money, and for this reason he wrote Tender Is the Night. But the public did not like it that very well.
Tragedies for the Fitzgerald’s Family Since his early college, Fitzgerald was known as an alcoholic. It was such a big problem that his wife sometimes had to cover up for him. Furthermore it was a fact that he had a mild attack of tuberculosis in 1919, which proved to be a tubercular hemorrhage. Moreover he had been smoking almost all his life, this also damaged his health and brought additional heart problems that had killed him. In the year of 1940, Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks. His first one occurred in Schwab’s Drug Store. His doctor had ordered him to live in a one floor apartment so that the chances of having another one would be small and that is where he would try to finish his book The Love of the Last Tycoon; however it did not help. For on December 20, 1940, he had a second heart attack. Then on the next day when he went to go see his doctor, he collapsed and died without finishing his fifth novel. He was at the age of 44. And almost eight years his wife, Zelda, died in a fire at the Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. As their only daughter, Frances Fitzgerald, permitted the Women’s Club of Rockville have her parents’ bodies buried in Saint Mary’s Cemetery, in Rockville, Maryland. Since Fitzgerald never had the chance to finish his fifth novel, The Love of the Last, his friend Edmund Wilson edited it and published it in 1941as The last Tycoon.
Fitzgerald’s Great Influences and Influenced Fitzgerald’s style of writing, “Lost Generation”, influenced many other great authors. His style of writing had a great impact on writers such as: Michael Chabon, John Cheever, Jay McInerney, J. D. Salinger, Richard Yates, Hunter S. Thompson, Ernest Hemingway and many more. Fitzgerald was also influenced by some great authors such as the poet John Keats, the author Sherwood Anderson, and the author of “The Age of Innocence” Edith Wharton.…...

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