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The Glamour and Heartbreak of Scott Fitzgerald’s American Dream

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The Glamour and Heartbreak of Scott Fitzgerald’s American Dream
When one is moving to the United States of America, all they must be able to think about is living the American Dream. They must imagine having a family, a nice house, a good job, money and maybe even being famous. Those who live in America must know that the American Dream is not an easy thing to achieve nor is it as great as it seems. Those lucky few who manage to achieve the American Dream sometimes get so caught up in all the glamour that they let it get to their heads. When that happens, the American Dream usually ends in heartbreak for that person. A perfect example of this situation was F. Scott Fitzgerald. He went from being a nobody to becoming a rich and successful American novel writer. Although, he did not stay that way for long as his doomed marriage, drinking problems, and partying habits put him on such a decline, that his books stopped being printed at one point. Therefore, no writer has more closely personified the glamour and heartbreak of the American Dream than F. Scott Fitzgerald in his early, middle, and late life. Even as a young man, Fitzgerald strived to achieve the American Dream for himself. In school, Fitzgerald gained a reputation as a show off. He used his high levelled writing skills as a way to become popular and become the centre of attention. In university, Fitzgerald began to seriously write. He began to write for the campus magazines and his lyrics for a Princeton musical caused a stir. His writing achievements began to give him the celebrity status he craved. That all ended when Fitzgerald was kicked out of the Princeton Theatrical Triangle club in 1916 because of academic failure. From that point on, Fitzgerald young life went on a decline. He left school and wanted to become a professional writer but went into world war one instead in 1917. After he was discharged, he went to New York City to become a writer but the walls of his room were soon plastered with rejection slips. To top off all the heartbreak that Fitzgerald was receiving, his girlfriend Zelda Sayre called of their marriage because Fitzgerald did not have any of the things she wanted: success, glamour and fame. Fitzgerald soon started to seek solace from alcohol. Fitzgerald was starting to figure the pros and cons of the American Dream.
Although Fitzgerald managed to achieve the American Dream as a young adult, he also managed to ruin it for himself. In 1919 Fitzgerald’s biggest dreams came true: his book This Side of Paradise finally got published and Zelda agreed to get married to him. His book was very popular and made a lot of money. After that Fitzgerald was living the American Dream. He rode around in taxi cabs, got endless newspaper interviews and went to countless parties at which he got drunk at. He wrote short stories for the Saturday Evening Post which help support his high rise lifestyle. His third novel The Great Gatsby gave insight to how Fitzgerald’s life was filled with glamour and fun, “I had everything I wanted and know I would never be happy again” he said (quoted “Beautiful and Damned”). It was true because of a few years after all his fun and fame; signs of trouble began to show in the middle part of his life. Zelda began to behave erratic and strange. Her brief affair with a French man shook Fitzgerald up and he knew “something had happened which could never be repaired” (quoted “Beautiful and Damned”). His drinking problems became worse and his craving for his attention made him act abominably when drunk. Fitzgerald tried to get serious and write a new book but the temptation to visit New York City was too much for him. By the depression, Fitzgerald had not managed to get serious and make a new book and his wife was admitted into a hospital for schizophrenic. Fitzgerald’s health had also begun to fail and in four years he was admitted to the hospital nine times for alcoholism and for tuberculosis. In a letter he wrote to Zelda while she was in the hospital he came to the sad conclusion, “We ruined ourselves” (quoted “Beautiful and Damned”). Therefore, at this time in his life, Fitzgerald brought in his own heartbreak while he was experiencing the American Dream. Towards the end of his life, Fitzgerald tried to get back the American Dream life he once had, but it ended with heartbreak. Things were not going well for Fitzgerald for the last few years of his life at first. His wife was permanently hospitalized and after his book Tender is the Night did okay, spent the whole summer of 1934 drunk. Fitzgerald’s writing skills went down and he could no longer sell or produce short stories for high fees, which made money a constant worry. The biggest blow came when Fitzgerald published a series of confession letters called “Cracked Up” in Esquine magazine in which he talked about the loss of his creative power and the sadness and waste of his life. His reputation suffered hugely and the letters embarrassed his friends. The New York Post mocked him and described him as a pitiful drunk. Things started to look up for Fitzgerald when he got a job offer from MGM as a script writer at a salary of $1000 per week. He needed the money to pay off his debt of $40,000. So with a determination to stop drinking and to put his life and career back on top, Fitzgerald went to Hollywood. In 18 months he managed to only have only one screen credit, but it was enough not to make him seem like such a washed up loser. After visiting Zelda one last time in 1939, he decided to write a novel after MGM failed to renew his contract. He battled against sickness as he raced to finish The Last Tycoon, “the novel that he hoped would re-establish him as the greatest him as the greatest American author of his generation” (quoted “Beautiful and Damned). He never got to finish his book as on December 21st, 1940, he suffered from a fatal heart attack that killed him at the age of 44. Though he tried very hard to bring himself back up, Fitzgerald died at a very low point in his life.
In the end of his life, Fitzgerald died doing the thing that made his dreams come true: writing. Even though it took time, he eventually became one of the greatest American writers. Today, his books are still in print, after he was rediscovered in the 1950’s, and read by people all over the world. He is immortalized with statues and stamps in his home town of st. Paul. Although his fame brought sadness and heartbreak and eventually an early death, his name lives on with the attention he craved. In conclusion, no other, no other author has more closely personified the glamour and heart break of the American Dream than F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Work Cited
American Classics: Great Writers of the English Language. Ed. Reg Wright et. al. Toronto: Marshall Cavendish Press, 1991. 30-35.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: the greatest American Dreamer.
Arts and Entertainment Biography, 1991.

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