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F.Scott Fitzgerald's Biography and his story Babylon Revisited - Essay Example

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Prior to the stock market crash of 1929, which ushered in the Great Depression, Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, had spent much of the previous decade reveling in the author’s newfound fame and success…
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F.Scott Fitzgeralds Biography and his story Babylon Revisited
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Download file to see previous pages According to Robert A. Martin, the publication of Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, in 1920 brought the young writer a great deal of attention, making him the de facto “chronicler of the Jazz Age, of flaming youth, of the flapper.” In the wake of its success and the subsequent publication of books such as The Beautiful and Damned in 1922 and Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby, in 1925, the couple enjoyed the perks of financial freedom, spending much of their time traveling to and partying their way through Europe in an alcoholic haze. Still, as Martin points out, the overindulgence would later take its toll, for “[w]hile his income during the 1920s rose steadily, Fitzgerald and his wife always spent more than he earned.”
The end of the Jazz Age brought the end of the often-troubled Fitzgerald marriage when, in 1930, Zelda suffered the first in a series of mental breakdowns. She would spend the remainder of life in and out of institutions. In later years, Fitzgerald would look back at that year “as the watershed or turning point of his career and of that of his wife … [f]or it was then that the onset of Zelda's illness started them both on the downgrade from which, despite the most valiant of efforts, neither of them ever wholly recovered” (Baker). It was in the midst of this personal crisis that Fitzgerald wrote the story considered by many to be the best of his short works, “Babylon Revisited.”
It was in the midst of this personal crisis that Fitzgerald wrote the story considered by many to be the best of his short works, “Babylon Revisited.” In a letter written the year before his death in 1940, Fitzgerald labeled “Babylon Revisited” as the announcement of the “death” of his “young illusions” about life (Baker). After the harsh reality of the stock market crash and the author’s own precarious monetary standing after years of profligate spending, Fitzgerald demonstrates a longing to return to the days before the excess. In this way, the character of Charlie Wales is a barely-disguised stand-in for the man who created him. Fitzgerald portrays Charlie as trying in vain to recapture his life before the dissolute period that tore it apart: he “associates regaining custody of his daughter Honoria with regaining the uncomplicated virtues of life before he succumbed to the decadence of late-1920s Paris, a decadence that destroyed his marriage and eventually led to his wife’s death” (Sutton 165). The character of Honoria was based on Fitzgerald’s own daughter, Scottie, who like the fictional girl was nine years old at the time he wrote the story. In letters written to his daughter while she was a college student at Vassar, he confirmed that she was the model for the character. In many ways, Fitzgerald “clung to” the “image of Scottie as a child” as “a kind of talisman, a means of reentering a past epoch of pleasant human things” (Baker). By immortalizing his young child in print, he was able to, in a sense, mentally “freeze” her at that age, providing a sense of comfortable remembrance of happier times. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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