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The Sensible Thing," By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1758 words - 8 pages

A Sensible Man with Sensible Writing "The Sensible Thing," by F. Scott Fitzgerald shares numerous characteristics with his other writings. Like many writers, his work was heavily influenced by his life. Published criticisms note similarities between attitudes of the Roaring Twenties. In order to interpret "The Sensible Thing," it is necessary to examine F. Scott Fitzgerald's life and work.The materialistic, free-thinking ideas characterizing greatly influenced the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Furthermore, his relationship with Zelda Sayer, like a roller coaster, went through many ups and downs, and this continued throughout his life. After "a courtship of a year and a half," (Bloom 83) ...view middle of the document...

Believing that Fitzgerald, participating in these social functions would enhance his career as a writer by becoming well-known in the wealthy society, he and Zelda aspired to be accepted as equals of the rich "flappers" (Bruccoli 147).Emphasizing the contrasts between metropolitan qualities and rural innocence characterizes the criticism of setting in Fitzgerald's writings. Robert Roulston considers that throughout the works of Fitzgerald, two discreet attitudes are expressed toward the South. In "The Last of the Belles," glamour and romance described the South, in contrast to the poverty and failure of the South in The Last Tycoon. Likewise East and West Egg, in The Great Gatsby, are characterized in terms of the rich side of town and the poor side of town (Bloom 158). Frederick J. Hoffman believed it was important for Nick Carraway, in The Great Gatsby, to be from the Midwest, "both the geographical and moral Midwest" (Poupard 14:152). Carraway's reactions to what he observes of Gatsby's life are affected by wholesome and humble Midwest values of his youth. Indeed, as the distinct attitudes toward the South noted by Roulston, the Midwestern values contrast with the wild, immoral parties of Gatsby. Finally, Fitzgerald often used the Midwest setting to symbolize a certain innocence and return to a person's roots. Similarly, Robert Ornstein suggests that Fitzgerald wrote about the concept of coming back to the home place after an adventure into town. "After Gatsby's death, Nick prepares to return to his Minnesota home, a place of warmth and enduring stability, carrying with him a surrealistic night vision of the debauchery of East" (Bloom 78).Critical analysis of the subject matter of Fitzgerald's work focused on the theme of money, glamorous living, and beautiful women. Written "on the verge of fantasy," Alfred Kazin considers Fitzgerald too obsessed with "the romance of glamour" (Poupard 14:151). That is, Fitzgerald's writing demonstrates how highly valued wealthy social standing and material possessions were to society in general. Kazin further analyzes Fitzgerald's "treatment of tragic complex topics in the context of romantic glamorous lives", such as Jay Gatsby's rise, dream, and physical downfall (Poupard 14:151). The "vanities add insecurities" of man from Robert Murray Davis' view were often topics in Fitzgerald's works. Possessing too much or too little looks, money, and position" created situations bringing about the character's problems (Hall 6:167). In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby must overcome these factors in order to move on in life. As Marius Bewley believed, the American Dream, included wealth add happiness, and this was almost always a subject matter for Fitzgerald. "Scott Fitzgerald's novels have been based on a concept of class" (Bloom 23). He knew that money played a tremendous role in all areas of life, and he believes happiness cannot exist without money. Bewley, citing Fitzgerald's recognition that money burs the...

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