Fitzgerald Essay, Research Paper
The dominant influences on F. Scott Fitzgerald were aspiration, literature, Princeton, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, and alcohol. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896. His father, Edward, was from Maryland, and his mother, Mary McQuillan, was the daughter of an Irish immigrant who became wealthy as a grocer in St. Paul. Both were from Catholic families. Edward Fitzgerald failed as a manufacturer of wicker furniture in St. Paul, and he became a salesman for Procter & Gamble in New York. After he was dismissed in 1908, when his son was twelve, the family returned to St. Paul and lived comfortably on Mary s inheritance. Fitzgerald attended the St. Paul Academy. His first writing to appear in print was a detective story in the school newspaper when he was thirteen. From 1911-1913 he attended the Neumann School, a Catholic prep school in New Jersey. He was a member of the Princeton class of 1917. During this time he neglected his studies. He wrote lyrics and scripts for the Princeton Triangle Club musicals. On academic probation and very unlikely to graduate, Fitzgerald joined the army in 1917, and he was commissioned second lieutenant in the infantry. Assured that he would die in the war, he quickly wrote a novel, The Romantic Egotist ; the rejection later stated that he should revise the novel, and then resubmit it. In June 1918, Fitzgerald was assigned to Camp Sheridan, in Alabama. While there, he fell in love with eighteen-year-old Zelda Sayre, the youngest daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. After rewriting the novel, and submitting it a second time to Scribners, it was still rejected. After his discharge in 1919, he went to New York to pursue his fortune in order to marry. Unwilling to wait while Fitzgerald succeeded the advertisement business and unwilling to live on his small salary, Zelda broke their engagement. Fitzgerald quit his job in July 1919 and returned to St. Paul to rewrite his novel as The Side of Paradise , it
was accepted by editor Maxwell Perkins of Scribners in September. The publication of The Side of Paradise on March 26, 1920, made Fitzgerald famous almost overnight, and a week later he married Zelda in New York. When his wife became pregnant they took a trip back to Europe in 1921, and then settled down in St. Paul, so Zelda could give birth to their only child, Frances Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had a reputation as a drinker, which made people think that he was an irresponsible writer. When critics objected to Fitzgerald s concern with love and success, his response was:1 But, my God! it was material, and it was all I had to deal with. The Fitzgeralds went to France in the spring of 1924, hoping to find some quiet time for his work. He wrote The Great Gatsby during the summer and fall in Valescure. The marriage between Zelda and Fitzgerald was damaged when Zelda got involved with a French naval aviator. From 1924-1925, Fitzgerald and family spent time in Rome, where he revised The Great Gatsby . The Great Gatsby was then published in April of 1925. In the spring of 1927, the Fitzgeralds returned to America to escape the distractions in France. After returning to France in April 1930, Zelda suffered her first breakdown. Zelda was seen and treated at Prangins clinic in Switzerland until September 1931, while Fitzgerald moved from hotel to hotel. All work on his novels were suspended, but he wrote short stories to pay for his wife s psychiatric treatment. Zelda was suffering relapse after relapse. Finally, in 1936, Zelda entered Highland Hospital. When Scottie, was fourteen she went off to boarding school, and the Obers became her surrogate family. Nonetheless, Fitzgerald functioned as a caring father by mail, attempting to have a watch over Scottie s education and to develop her social values. During his trip to California, he fell in love with a movie columnist named Sheilah Graham. He began his Hollywood novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon , in 1939 and had written more than half of it, when he died of a heart attack on December 21, 1940. Eight years later, Zelda Fitzgerald died in a fire in Highland Hospital.