Born on September 24, 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, or as he is better known F. Scott Fitzgerald, would grow to be one of the greatest American writers of the 1920’s. Though he was the only son of Edward and Mary Fitzgerald, he did have one sister, Louise. As a boy, Fitzgerald attended St Paul’s Academy. It was here that he began writing stories for his school newspaper when he was only thirteen years old. Although he never went to war, Fitzgerald drafted into the armed forces in 1918 and stationed in Montgomery, Alabama. During this time, F. Scott Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court Judge. After publishers did not accept his first novel, “[Fitzgerald] went to New York City to seek his fortune in order to marry [Zelda]. Unwilling to wait while Fitzgerald succeeded in the advertisement business and unwilling to live on his small salary, Zelda Sayre broke their engagement” (“A Brief Life of Fitzgerald”). Sayre soon became re-engaged to F. Scott Fitzgerald after the success of his first published novel, This Side of Paradise. The young couple married in 1920 and had one child, Frances Scott (Scottie) Fitzgerald (“A Brief Life of Fitzgerald”). This relationship with Zelda Sayre would later help shape Fitzgerald’s career as an author and the novels he wrote.
Although he was an alcoholic, Fitzgerald only wrote his novels and short stories while he was sober. This struggle with alcoholism led to a lack of money and depression. While on a trip to France in the summer and fall of 1924, F. Scott Fitzgerald ...
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... like so many, seems likely to go unfulfilled. The Roman candle which sent out a few gloriously colored balls at the first lighting seems to be ending in a fizzle of smoke and sparks” (Reach).
Many critics of The Great Gatsby believed that the characters of the novel were left undeveloped. In a letter from one of Fitzgerald’s friends, Edith Wharton, dated in June of 1925, she stated “To make Gatsby really Great, you ought to have given us his early career (not from the cradle-but from his visit to the yacht, if not before) instead of a short resume of it. That would have situated him & made his final tragedy a tragedy instead of a fait divers for the morning papers” (Reach). Readers were not able to connect with Gatsby like they wanted to. Despite these negative views, The Great Gatsby has sold millions of copies worldwide since the time of the original publication.
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