Fitzgeralds Life In Fiction Essay, Research Paper
Almost all of Fitzgerald s writings are somewhat autobiographical in some way. During the beginning of his success, he was living in the Golden Twenties, however, he always wrote with clinical depression (Fitzgerald, viii.) This is obvious, because his main characters always seem to fall into either depression, or complete demise. Two novels that demonstrate this, are The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night. A short publication of Fitzgerald s journal called, The Jazz Age, reveal Fitzgerald s true persona and make parallel connections between himself and people in his life to characters in his novels.
Fitzgerald s life and ideas are strongly reflected in his novels. During these years, Fitzgerald noted in his journal, now published under The Jazz Age , that there had begun a highly noticeable segregation of classes. There were alcoholics and non-alcoholics; old money and new money; snobby people and more modest people. All of these groups knowing nothing of each other except through hearsay. In each novel, these factors all play a role in subtly revealing Fitzgerald s life. This time in his life helped create his characters status and personality.
During his later years as a writer, Fitzgerald becomes very depressed. He writes and thinks as though he is alone in the world. Soon a strong hate for everyone grows inside of him, and he begins to pick and choose which types of people he likes and which he dislikes. Preference of types of people, he explains in his journal, is the true sign of cracking up. In both The Great Gatsby and Tender Is The Night, your social status is what decided who were and were not your friends. Preference in friends was strongly exposed in The Great Gatsby. The decision was based primarily on social status.
In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald s strongest characters are Gatsby and Tom Buchanan. Gatsby personifies new money, and Tom Buchanan, represents old money. Gatsby made himself into a rich man through shady dealings, while Tom received everything he has on a silver platter. He earned nothing but his inheritance. At the time, it was extremely desirable to be old money, because people looked at new money as vulgar and uncivilized. By illustrating social-economic class differences, Fitzgerald depicts the illusion of the corrupted American dream. The American Dream being what Fitzgerald had eventually viewed as non-existent. Fitzgerald once had a dream but it vanished with his creeping depression. Thus leading to his idea that there was no honest American Dream. This depression minutely began with his realization that New York was not a universe but only a city. It no longer whispered fantastic success and eternal youth. Therefore it no longer whispered that he could happily complete his America Dream.
Tender is the Night mirrors Fitzgerald s own life with his wife Zelda. Fitzgerald, a perfectionist in his own career worked diligently to establish himself. Meanwhile, he and Zelda traveled the globe, attended parties, consumed alcohol, lived extravagantly, and carelessly spent all their money before Zelda slipped into insanity leaving Fitzgerald to pick up the scattered pieces of his broken life.
In Tender is The Night, Fitzgerald speaks of Dick Diver as though it was himself. He quotes:
“His [Dick s] love for Nicole and Rosemary, his friendship with Abe North and Tommy Barban in the broken universe of the war s ending there seemed some necessity of taking all or nothing; it was as if for the remainder of his life he was condemned to carry with him the egos of certain people, early met and early loved, and to be only as complete as they were themselves” (245).
This quotation stands as evidence that Fitzgerald was constantly influenced by his surroundings. This only being true because Dick was a reflection of Fitzgerald s thoughts put into character. In some ways Fitzgerald can be compared to the melting pot of NYC. Where all of the people he has met has left a part of them onto him and created the Fitzgerald that has written The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night. F. Scott Fitzgerald was trying to subtly explain that life is not easy. He used examples from his own life. He also tried to portray the pain and hatred he felt by becoming a character.