Essay on F. Scott Fitzgerald 's Winter Dreams And The Diamond As Big As The Ritz

Essay on F. Scott Fitzgerald 's Winter Dreams And The Diamond As Big As The Ritz

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During the 1920s, in the wake of nationwide prosperity, a new social class arose in America, comprised of those who came from humble origins and worked hard to gain significant wealth. As Jennifer Banach puts it, “this prosperity also gave people license to experiment with hedonism and cast off their moral and social responsibilities to pursue their own pleasure” (23). An American who reached for opulence himself, F. Scott Fitzgerald observed these realties first hand. In his short stories, “Winter Dreams” and “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” Fitzgerald expresses the emptiness of the wealthy and criticizes the popular obsession with the American Dream in the 1920s.
Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1896 into a reasonably affluent family. With his father’s money, the young boy went to Newman School in Hackensack, New Jersey, and later studied at Princeton (Mangum). While he became very committed to literary societies on campus, Fitzgerald decided to join the army in 1917 when World War I began. A second lieutenant, he never engaged in battle and the war ended before his first order overseas (Witkoski). During the war, he attempted to publish his first novel, The Romantic Egoist, but Scribner publishers rejected his work. Stationed in Alabama, Fitzgerald also fell in love with Zelda Sayre, who eventually married him and had a profound influence on his writings. At first Sayre rejected Fitzgerald’s marriage proposal because of his failures, but Fitzgerald set out to rework on his novel and regain Zelda’s love (Banach 25-26). This correlation led to a major motif in Fitzgerald’s writings; the overlap of success and love. Fitzgerald garnered early success, and went on to write novels such as The Great Gatsby and short s...

... middle of paper ... Outcry 120). However, when he finds out about Judy’s average life, his morale dies, and “all else that had mattered has been left behind ‘in the country of illusion’ where his ‘winter dreams had flourished’” (Lyrical Outcry 119).
In these stories, Fitzgerald deals with two common objects of his criticism; the wealthy and the obsession of the American Dream. The wealthy provide an easy target, portrayed as rich snobby brats by many over the course of history. However, Fitzgerald’s disdain for the American Dream remains more of an obscurity. Interestingly, by reading his stories, especially “Winter Dreams” and “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” we find that it represents more than just a goal. It embodies a “dualistic vision...—one encompassing the material and the spiritual, money and love” (Banach 30). And this logic is what “haunts” Fitzgerald in his novels (30).

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