Many great authors draw inspiration from his or her every day life. Alcoholism, ambition, love, and education are prevalent themes behind F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life and work. His privileged early life and education quickly spiraled downhill due to his devotion to literature, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, and alcohol (Bruccoli).
On September 4th, 1896, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born to Edward and Mollie Fitzgerald in St. Paul, Minnesota. Edward was the second cousin, twice removed of the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and very proud of his heritage, evident in the naming of his son. Mollie was the daughter of a wealthy Irish immigrant who made his fortune as a wholesale grocer. When Edward’s wicker furniture manufacturing business failed, he moved to family to upstate New York to work as a salesman for Procter & Gamble. After losing that job as well, Edward turned to alcohol to drown his sorrows. Soon after, the Fitzgerald’s returned to their native St. Paul and lived modestly on Mollie’s inheritance. In 1908 F. Scott Fitzgerald began attending the St. Paul Academy, where he found his passion for writing; when he was thirteen years old, a detective story he had written was printed in the school newspaper. After his years in St. Paul, Fitzgerald enrolled in the Newman School, a Catholic prep school in New Jersey. After graduating prep school in 1913, Fitzgerald joined to Princeton class of 1917. While attending college, he wrote for the Princeton Tiger humor magazine, the Nassau Literary Magazine, and scripts and lyrics for the Princeton Triangle Club, all the while neglecting his studies. In 1917, on academic probation and unlikely to graduate, Fitzgerald dropped out of Princeton and joined the army. He was commissioned a s…
…coon, in 1939, and had almost a full draft when he died of a heart attack in Graham’s apartment on December 21, 1940 (Teuber).
In his own eyes, F. Scott Fitzgerald died a failure. It wasn’t until many years later that he was recognized as a notable author. Despite writing articulately about the consequences of money on the soul, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were entirely unable to manage their finances; similarly, alcoholism was prevalent theme in many of his books, but Fitzgerald was powerless against his heritage of alcoholism.
Bruccoli, Matthew J. A Brief Life of Fitzgerald. 1994. 6 May 2014 .
Teuber, Andreas. F. Scott Fitzgerald. 6 May 2014
Willett, Erika. F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American Dream. 6 May 2014 .