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Kaplan Sample

In: Novels

Submitted By Redsmom
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The biographical element in Fitzgeralds writing is one of the most obviously notable qualities about his novels. In The Great Gatsby, there are repeated threads of Fitzgerald's own life woven into the characters and the plot. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, in St Paul Minnesota (Mizener, 1972). His mother Mary McQuillan Fitzgerald was the eccentric daughter of an Irish immigrant. Who had earned his fortune in the grocery business. Edward Fitzgerald; his father, was a Southern gentleman who never could quite make a fortune for himself and eventually was secured a position in one of his father-in-law's stores (Eble, 1977). Mizener (1972) says that Fitzgerald's "breeding—right instincts, good manners" came from his fathers side, leaving his mother's side of the family to provide the money, security and success (pg. 6). He was educated at Princeton after failing the entrance exams twice and appealing to the board for admittance (Mayfield, 1971). He was heavily involved in the Triangle Club--Princetons drama club, as well as writing for The Nassau Literary Magazine. His drinking career also started in college, he nearly failed out of school is junior year (Mayfield, 1971). In November of 1917, Fitzgerald joined the army and began his brief career as a military man. Fitzgerald met his wife Zelda Sayre in July of 1918, at a country club in Montgomery, Alabama. Sara Mayfield claims that it is at the precise moment that Scott met Zelda, that the Jazz Age began (Mayfield, 1971). Zelda held Scott at bay for several years as he had no money with which to support her he was a poor soldier armed with charm and good looks, and she was the belle of the ball in Montgomery. And the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice. When Scott sold his first novel, This Side of Paradise, the engagement to Zelda became official; and the two were married in New York on April 3, 1920 (Mayfield, 1971). The wild ride that would become their lives began immediately following the service: and ended only with Scott's death in 1940. They were a wild couple--filled with energy and never happy to remain in the same place for very long. They spent the money earned by Scotts writing faster than they could get it, and as a result were constantly in debt. The Fitzgerald's threw wild parties and attended even wilder ones. It must have been quite exciting to be surrounded by two people of such lively temperament. Unfortunately nothing comes without a price. Scott's drinking became heavier and heavier, and its fairly safe to assume that he was an alcoholic. Zelda suffered several breakdowns, and was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia (Mayfield, 1971). Their marriage suffered irreparably from their hedonistic lifestyle and Scott eventually took up with a Hollywood columnist named Sheilah Graham (Mizener, 1972). It was in her apartment that he suffered a heart attack and died on December 21, 1940. Zelda had taken up residence at Highland Hospital in Asheville, and on March 10, 1948. The hospital caught fire and Zelda was burned to death in her hospital bed (Mayfield, 1971). Two lives that had been the very definition of an era in American history, ended in tragedy and heartache.…...

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