"Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy."
Who was F. Scott Fitzgerald?
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was a Jazz Age novelist and short story writer who is considered to be one of the greatest twentieth-century American writers. He was born on September 24, 1896. He was the only son of an aristocratic father and a working-class mother. He was born of two different traditions. His father's family included the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner" (after whom Fitzgerald was named) and his mother's family was, in Fitzgerald's words, "straight 1850 potato-famine Irish." Due to this difference, he was ambivalent toward the notion of the American dream. For him, it was vulgar and dazzlingly promising.
Fitzgerald was a bright and ambitious boy, the pride and joy of his parents, especially his mother. He attended St. Paul Academy, and when he was 13, here he saw his first piece of writing appear in print: a detective story published in the school newspaper. In 1911 he attended a prestigious Catholic preparatory school in New Jersey. He met Father Sigourney Fay, who noticed his talent with the written word and encouraged him to pursue his literary ambitions.
Fitzgerald was placed on academic probation, and, in 1917, he dropped out of school to join the U.S. Army (Here is where he met his wife, Zelda.) He was afraid that he might die in war with his literary dreams unfulfilled, so before reporting to duty, Fitzgerald hastily wrote a novel called The Romantic Egotist. Though the publisher rejected the novel, the reviewer noted its originality and encouraged Fitzgerald to submit more work in the future.
After he completed The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald's life began to unravel. He progressed steadily into alcoholism and suffered prolonged bouts of writer's block. Zelda, suffered from mental health issues. After two years lost to alcohol and depression, he attempted to revive his career as a screenwriter and freelance story writer. Although, in his final moments he died due to a heart attack believing that he was a failure.
Many of the events from Fitzgerald’s early life appear in his most famous novel, The Great Gatsby. Like Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway (the narrator of the novel) is a thoughtful young man from Minnesota who is educated at an Ivy League school and moves to New York after the war. Jay Gatsby is similar as well, he's a sensitive young man who idolizes wealth and luxury. He also falls in love with a beautiful young woman while stationed at a military camp in the South.