F. Scott Fitzgerald The man behind gatsby

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896. Fitzgerald was indeed related to Francis Scott Key, who wrote the "Star-Spangled Banner" in early American history, but the link was distant: they were second cousins three times removed. However, his parents were not averse to "putting on airs." Fitzgerald's father traced his family roots back to seventeenth-century Maryland. Thus, the Fitzgeralds had "breeding." Yet, what they lacked for most of Fitzgerald's life was money.
Fitzgerald grew up moving from place to place, as his father changed jobs and rented apartments or flats, which anticipated a nomadic pattern that Fitzgerald would follow through his adult life. In 1908, his father lost his salesman's job at Procter & Gamble at 55-years old. Fitzgerald remembers that night as his father "came home that evening, an old man, a completely broken man. He had lost his essential drive, his immaculateness of purpose. He was a failure the rest of his days." From that point on, Fitzgerald became acutely attuned to his class with a permanent feeling of never quite measuring up to others.
After his father's job loss, the Fitzgeralds moved back to St. Paul, to the section of the city where Mollie's (Fitzgerald's mother's) family owned property. For the next decade, the Fitzgerald family rented apartments and houses in what was then one of the wealthiest residential sections of any city in the world: Summit Ave. There, they lived on Mollie's inheritance.
However, Fitzgerald always felt one step down from his wealthier childhood playmates on Summit Avenue, and later, his Princeton classmates and his fellow writers and artists. These rejections - whether subtle or overt; imaged or real - ate away at Fitzgerald's self-confidence. The feeling of being at home in his own skin, of being enough - in terms of class or talent - was a utopian state that Fitzgerald never achieved. He was always "reaching," striving to make himself something greater.

"The sense of being on the outside looking in, of wanting wealth and status and at the same time loathing the easeful rich who take their advantages for granted: these are the bedrock elements in Fitzgerald's fiction and their source can be traced to Summit Avenue" (Corrigan).

Fitzgerald, like Gatsby, was someone who reached higher, who "believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us."

"Fitzgerald's language, filtered through Nick's voice, is above all else what makes The Great Gatsby so extraordinary . . . [H]e summons up a voice -- call it the omniscient American voice -- that renders the American Dream irresistible and heartbreaking and buoyant, all at once. Gatsby's fall from grace may be grim, but the language of the novel is buoyant; Fitzgerald's plot may suggest that the American Dream is a mirage, but his words make that dream irresistible" (Corrigan).

"Gatsby's magic emanates not only from its powerhouse poetic style -- in which ordinary American language becomes unearthly -- but from the authority with which it nails who we want to be as Americans. Not who we are; who we want to be. It's that wanting that runs through every page of Gatsby, making it our Greatest American novel . . . It's not the green light; it's Gatsby's reaching for it that's the crucial all-American symbol of the novel" (Corrigan).

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