6. Comment on the importance of three of the major texts.

1. The Great Gatsby is “a work that seriously examines the theme of aspiration in an American setting, defines the classic American novel” (Bruccoli). Published in 1925, “The Great Gatsby shows the young generation of the 1920's masking their general depression behind the forced exuberance of the Jazz Age” ("The Lost Generation"). The Great Gatsby is “a sensitive, satiric fable of the pursuit of success and the collapse of the American dream” ("F. Scott Fitzgerald.").

2. Babylon Revisited was “first published in the Saturday Evening Post on February 21, 1931, and had many parallels to Fitzgerald’s own life, both personal and historical” ("Babylon Revisited"). Babylon Revisited is an important text because it exemplifies the loss of the glamour of the Twenties with the loss of wife and child. As the main character Charlie (Fitzgerald) sits and looks at his daughter, Honoria, who he has not seen for many months, he wonders whether she is more like him or her mother and he hopes that she is not a lethal combination of the two; a marriage of excess and extravagance which wrought destruction and despair to them both. He realizes now that their exorbitant and indulgent lifestyle came at an equally exorbitant price. It cost him everything that he truly loved. It cost him his happiness and it cost him his family. But Charlie still “believed in character; he wanted to jump back a whole generation and trust in character again as the eternally valuable element” (Fitzgerald, 1842). Charlie is filled with regret and he works hard to try to pay for his past mistakes. The burden that Charlie has to bear represents that of an entire generation who got caught up in the flamboyance and folly of the “roaring twenties” and the price they had to pay was with an emotional and economic “Great Depression.” Charlie is a man of character and “he would come back someday; they couldn’t make him pay forever” (Fitzgerald, 1853). This is a cautionary tale about love, loss, and redemption.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

is one of Fitzgerald’s short stories that first appeared in Colliers Magazine in 1921 and then later published in Tales of the Jazz Age. It was a relatively minor work and it did not receive much attention in its time but it recently grew in popularity in 2008 when it was released as a movie starring Brad Pitt and Kate Blanchett, reviving an interest in the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Listen to an audio version of the story below.

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