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F. Scott Fitzgerald Research Paper


2nd Trimester Final Research Project

Endya Brandon Ms. Nichole Wilson AP Literature and Composition February 10, 2014

I have read and understand the sections in the Student Handbook regarding Mason High School's Honesty/Cheating Policy. By affixing this statement to the title page of my paper, I am certifying that I have not cheated or plagiarized in the process of completing this assignment. If it is found that cheating and/or plagiarism did take place in the writing of this paper, I understand the possible consequences of the act, which could include a "0" on the paper, as well as an "F" as a final grade in the course. Endya Brandon

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F. Scott Fitzgerald Research Paper F. Scott Fitzgerald was an exceptionally popular author in the early 1900s who was known for his romantic novels and short stories at the beginning of the Jazz Age. Most of his works follow a common theme; they either have a romantic element to them, or an autobiographical element; in most cases the piece contains both. Outside of his writing, he was also known for the odd lifestyle he led with his wife Zelda and his friends, such as Ernest Hemingway. Fitzgerald had very few boundaries, this crucial flaw led to his ensuing failure. He was an alcoholic who struggled with depression; he peaked half-way through his career and started his slow decline which concluded with his sudden and tragic death in 1940. Contributing to this decline not only in his career but in his health; half of the time he was writing, it was so he could maintain his lavish lifestyle, not because he was inspired. Even with all these faults, Fitzgerald was known as the greatest writer of the 19th century ("Carolines Study of F. Scott Fitzgerald"). Although F. Scott Fitzgeralds personal life underwent many radical changes brought on by his tumultuous home life with his wife, relationships with his friends and also the drinking and partying he participated in his writing stayed consistent. Fitzgeralds use of modernist ideas, symbolic imagery, descriptive writing and allusions of the autobiographical variety created a vivid picture in the readers mind of not only the setting and scenery of each story, but of the characters within it ("English 9 Basic Literary Terms List). This was one thing that set Fitzgerald apart from the other writers in his period, his language. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was one of F. Scott Fitzgeralds first short stories written, at the very beginning of the Jazz Age and his writing career. This short story sheds a lot of light on the morals and values during this period in time. the early years are marked by the failure of his parents (trying circumstances to be sure) to rise above the conventional norms

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imposed from without by the exacting standards of Baltimore high society (Seery). Fitzgerald subtlety comments on social norms and his disapproval of societies need for approval. Similar to this example, Fitzgerald adds an autobiographical element to his story which concurs with the theme of his writing from his beginning in 1920 through the remainder of Fitzgeralds career. These are the fundamentals of his writing, which he established quite early on, becoming some of his main attributes. In 1922, two years after Fitzgerald had published his first novel, a great deal had taken place in his life. He had married Zelda, published his first collection of short stories, traveled to Europe for a few months, and his daughter was born; he was in an excellent place. Perhaps this was just one of those short stories that he regarded as merely his bread and butter and so didnt commit his powers as an artist into developing(Mangnum). On the contrary The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was very well written. Each character in the story was developed with utmost respect and detail, staying true to Fitzgeralds brand. The main character Benjamin is characterized with such refined detail you could follow his transformation not only physically but mentally. Wrapped in a voluminous white blanket, and partly crammed into one of the cribs, there sat an old man apparently about seventy years of age. His sparse hair was almost white, and from his chin dripped a long smoke-colored beard, which waved absurdly back and forth, fanned by the breeze coming in at the window. (Fitzgerald). Being the first introduction to Benjamin the reader has received, the first impression is strong. Comparable to The Great Gatsby, the memorable lines where Tom Buchanan is introduced, the physical attributes in characters are just as important to a story as the mental ones. This was when everything was still looking up. Fitzgerald was consistent with his pieces and has published two collections of short stories, two successful novels, and a multitude of essays. Although Fitzgeralds writing style hadnt fully

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developed, he had established himself as a prominent writer within his time just by his reoccurring themes and his distinctive prose. Babylon Revisited was arguably one of F. Scott Fitzgeralds most popular short stories. It was largely autobiographical due to the many allusions Fitzgerald made to his own life and situation and gave readers a glimpse into his head and his lifestyle. It also captures the internal struggle that comes with the onset of early success, drinking, too much freedom financially, little discipline, and responsibilities. In this particular piece, Fitzgerald employs his symbolic imagery in many situations. When Charlie the main character in Babylon Revisited first sets out to the bar he used to frequent and gives the bartend hes address so his old friends could find him, he is still holding on to the past the he claims he so desperately wants to get away from. Critics describe Babylon Revisited as having thematic patterns carried throughout the plot by analyzing the contrast between elements of the past and the future (Carlson). These patterns are the symbolic imagery examples that Fitzgerald scatters throughout the short story. Fitzgerald also alludes to his own life periodically in the story, the obvious example being the main characters tendency to binge drink and how as a result his life was slipping away from him. During the peak of his contemporary popularity, F. Scott Fitzgerald lived abroad much of that time pursing a frenzied social life that impeded his literary work (Prigozy). Babylon Revisited remains one of the many examples of Fitzgeralds autobiographical style of writing which stays consistent throughout his career up until his death. Critics say Fitzgerald peaked in-between the years of 1924 and 1929, right before Babylon Revisited, it was one of the last of his very successful endeavors. In 1931, when the short story was written, the stock market crashed triggering the end of the Jazz Age and the beginning of the great depression. From that point on, everything seemed to be going in a

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downward spiral, the very next year Fitzgerald suffered from a nervous breakdown. This was reflected almost predicted in the story almost as if he felt it coming because the line Charlie has spent the last several years recovering from a mental breakdown (Fitzgerald) was written the year before he was institutionalized. After this earth-shattering event, Fitzgerald communicates through his writing a desire to become a better person by showing his main character recovering from alcoholism and trying to patch up marital and family issues. He skillfully used Charlies situation to mirror his own, another example of symbolic imagery. Charlies pursuit to regain custody of his daughter is not only just that, but also a pursuit to regain control in his own life. Tender is the Night was one of Fitzgeralds least successful and least popular novels, but that was just to the general public. Well, the novel didnt do so well. It was published in the heart of the Great Depression, and some critics say that audiences didnt want to read about lifestyles of the rich and famous in a time of economic crisis. Many analysts say that despite its flaws, plumbs the paradoxes of desire more profoundly than Gatsby (Prigozy). It contains less autobiographical elements than other previous works, because was written towards the end of Fitzgeralds career when hes personal issues had hit an all-time high, and Americas were knee deep in the depression. This indirect change in his technique may have lost him some fans, but in the critics eyes, this piece was just as good as any, some might say better. In 1934, after the great depression was in full swing and Fitzgerald started writing form money, hes quality of work began declining. Fewer people were buying his books because not only did they not possess the extra money, they did not want to read about how the rich and famous were living while they lived miserably for the most part. He changed his writing style too dramatically for even his regular fans to appreciate, his spiral out of control was noticed by his audience and not

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appreciated. His work lost credibility. On the other hand, many say Fitzgeralds signature style was still deeply rooted into the novel, his language was striking as always, especially in the opening paragraph when setting up the scene On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about half way between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose- colored hotel. Deferential palms cool its flushed faade, and before it stretches a short dazzling beach. (Fitzgerald, 1). He creates such a peaceful calming picture, the semantics are so artful and skillful one would never even begin to comprehend all the negatives to come in this novel. Fitzgerald ropes you in from the very beginning. When Rosemary Hoyt the main character and heroine of the story is first introduced, the readers fall in love with the idea of her. She is a refreshing beautiful face, who has not quite reached maturity but still but the dew [of childhood] was still on her (Fitzgerald, 1). F. Scott Fitzgerald peaked in the early-middle of his career (mid to late 1920s). After the great depression hit, when he began writing for magazines and trying to publish a large amounts of work in a small amount of time his quality of work declined slowly, until it got to a point where he even knew his career was coming to a close. He had nervous breakdowns because he could see his friends for example, Ernest Hemingway lives improving while his was declining. This had an adverse effect on his writing and also his health. Although his stories did lose their luster, it wasnt because of his writing; it was solely because Fitzgerald was not putting his all into his stories and their plots any longer. Through all of his troubles, Fitzgerald managed to stay true to his personal writing style. On December 21, 1940, F. Scott Fitzgerald passed away, while in the middle of writing his final novel. Although in his later years, he didnt get as much recognition as he deserved, Fitzgerald is not remember for his failure, but his successes are what keep his name alive in the American culture to this day.

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Works Cited Carlson, Dana. "Anecdotes of Dana." Anecdotes of Dana. N.p., 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. "Carolines Study of F. Scott Fitzgerald." Carolines Study of F Scott Fitzgerald. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. "English 9 Basic Literary Terms List." English 9 Basic Literary Terms List. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. Mangnum, Bryant. "An Introduction to the Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald." An Introduction to the Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Salem Press, 1981. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. Prigozy, Ruth. "The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald." Google Books. Cambridge University Press, 2002. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. Seery, Bob. "Benjamin Button F Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Review." By Bob Seery. Humanities 360, 22 Aug. 2010. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.

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Works Referenced Carlson, Dana. "Anecdotes of Dana." Anecdotes of Dana. N.p., 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. "Carolines Study of F. Scott Fitzgerald." Carolines Study of F Scott Fitzgerald. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. Coelho, Dave. "Off-Ramp." KPCC. Southern California Public Radio, 10 May 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. Cowley, Malcolm. "The New Republic." New Republic. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. "English 9 Basic Literary Terms List." English 9 Basic Literary Terms List. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. "F. Scott Fitzgerald Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. "A Few Words about F. Scott Fitzgerald." The Public Domain Review. The Public Domain Review, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. Luong, Merry B. "A Woman 's Touch in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night: Pulling the Women Out of the Background." ScholarWorks.GSU.edu. Georgia State University, 23 Apr. 2010. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. Mangnum, Bryant. "An Introduction to the Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald." An Introduction to the Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Salem Press, 1981. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. Prigozy, Ruth. "The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald." Google Books. Cambridge University Press, 2002. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.

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Seery, Bob. "Benjamin Button F Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Review." By Bob Seery. Humanities 360, 22 Aug. 2010. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. Shmoop Editorial Team. "F. Scott Fitzgerald Timeline of Important Dates." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. Shmoop Editorial Team. "Tender Is the Night." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.

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Final Research Paper Outline I. Introduction a. F. Scott Fitzgerald was an exceptionally popular author in the early 1900s who was known for his romantic novels and short stories. Outside of his writing, he was also known for the odd lifestyle he led, with his wife Zelda. The two had very few boundaries and this essential flaw led to each of their eventual downfalls. Fitzgerald was an alcoholic who struggled with depression and half of the time he was writing, it was so he could maintain his lavish lifestyle, not because he was inspired. Even with all these faults, Fitzgerald was known as the greatest writer of the 19th century. b. (Beginning of jazz age when he published his first novel, friends w earnest Hemmingway, slowly declining, died of a heart attack) somehow work into beginning c. Thesis: F. Scott Fitzeralds writing style underwent a subtle change in between the time he first began to write (1920) to when his life was suddenly and tragically ended (1940). These changes were brought on by Fitzgeralds tumultuous home life with his life, relationships with his friends and also the drinking and partying he participated in. (ADD IN SPECIFIC CHANGES TO WRITING STYLE) Also need to address common romantic theme throughout all of Fitzgeralds pieces, they also have an autobiographical element to them. Work into thesis or intro. II. Body Paragraph #1: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (1922)

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a. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was one of F. Scott Fitzgeralds first short stories written, at the very beginning of the Jazz Age and his writing career. This short story sheds a lot of light on the morals and values during this period in time.(Address analysis and strong points) [a & b] b. Concrete Detail: A querulous septuagenarian oddity, pre-wired for sarcasm and with full linguistic powers is bequeathed by fate to the misfortunate Buttons, who, as the tale would have it, are less impressed by the medical wonder they have just witnessed and more concerned by what the neighbours may think. (1) So, the early years are marked by the failure of his parents (trying circumstances to be sure) to rise above the conventional norms imposed from without by the exacting standards of Baltimore high society and if we are allowed to psychologize a theme which remained very underexplored by Fitzgerald himself it may be suggested that this straitjacketing of Benjamins wishes throughout the adolescence that never was left him unprepared for the unique journey which his life was to become. (2) c. (1) commentary on social norms and society (2) autobiographical element in his writing d. Fitzgerald subtlety comments on social norms and adds an autobiographical element to his story which goes along with the theme of his writing through the years. These are the fundamentals of his writing. III. Body Paragraph #2: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (1922) a. In 1922, two years after Fitzgerald had published his first novel, a great deal had taken place in his life. He had married Zelda, published his first collection of short

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stories, traveled to Europe for a few months, and his daughter was born; he was in an excellent place.(Explain low points in writing compared with what was happening in Fitzgeralds personal life) b. As a writer, it may be wondered why Fitzgerald never felt the urge to flesh out some of the relationships a bit more provide a bit more psychological depth as there was plenty of material here to do so. Perhaps this was just one of those short stories that he regarded as merely his bread and butter and so didnt commit his powers as an artist into developing c. Although Fitzgeralds writing style hadnt fully developed, he had established himself as a prominent writer with just his reoccurring themes. IV. Body Paragraph #3: Babylon Revisited (1931) a. Babylon Revisited was arguably one of F.Scott Fitzgeralds most popular short stories. It was largely autobiographical and gave readers a glimpse into his head and his lifestyle. (Address analysis and strong points compare similarities to TCCOBB) b. Charlie has spent the last several years recovering from a mental breakdown c. One of the many examples of Fitzgeralds autobiographical style of writing which stays consistent throughout his career up until his death. V. Body Paragraph #4: Babylon Revisited (1931) a. In 1931, when Babylon Revisited was written, the stock market crashed triggering the end of the Jazz Age and the beginning of the great depression. The very next year Fitzgerald suffers from a nervous breakdown. (Explain low points in writing compared with what was happening in Fitzgeralds personal life)

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b. Charlie's horror with his own former waste and self-destruction is Fitzgerald's condemnation of a society who drank away the '20s. c. Fitzgerald communicates a desire to become a better person by showing his main character recovering from alcoholism and marital and family issues. VI. Body Paragraph #5: Tender is the Night (1934) a. Tender is the Night was one of Fitzgeralds least successful and least popular novels. It (Address analysis and strong points and compare similarities with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Babylon Revisited) b. Well, the novel didnt do so well. It was published in the heart of the Great Depression, and some critics say that audiences didnt want to read about lifestyles of the rich and famous in a time of economic crisis. c. Contains LESS autobiographical elements than other previous works, was written towards the end of his career when hes personal issues had hit an all-time high, and Americas were knee deep in the depression. VII. Body Paragraph #6: Tender is the Night (1934) a. In 1934, after the great depression was in full swing and Fitzgerald started writing form money, hes quality of work began declining. Fewer people were buying his books because not only did they not possess the extra money, they did not want to read about how the rich and famous were living while they lived miserably for the most part. (Explain low points in writing compared with what was happening in Fitzgeralds personal life)

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b. Well, the novel didnt do so well. It was published in the heart of the Great Depression, and some critics say that audiences didnt want to read about lifestyles of the rich and famous in a time of economic crisis. c. He changed his writing style too dramatically for even his regular fans to appreciate and his spiral out of control was noticed by his audience and not appreciated. His work lost credibility. VIII. Conclusion a. F. scott Fitzgerald peaked in the early-middle of his career (mid to late 1920s). After the great depression hit, when he began writing for magazines and trying to publish a large amount of work in a small amount of time (find this quote from one of my original 5 sources in research proposal), his quality of work declined slowly, until it got to a point where he even knew his career was coming to a close. He had nervous breakdowns because he could see his friends (for example, Earnest Hemmingway) lives improving while his was declining. This had an adverse effect on his writing and also his health. On December 21, 1940, F. Scott Fitzgerald passed away, while in the middle of writing his final novel.