Themes and Meanings (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
“Crazy Sunday” is a story about the interrelationship of illusions and reality (or make-believe and actuality), of the difficulty people have separating them, and of the confusion of identity that results. Because the story’s characters work in a profession that creates and markets illusions, the problem of personal identity is heightened and the thin line between acting and being is blurred. On Sundays, when they are not making films, they are thrown into the challenge of coping with the world of actuality. Because it is psychologically frustrating for them to contend with real problems of fidelity, jealousy, illness, and death, they tend to extend their work week and to find faith in the profession itself, to live in the office of creation. Their weekend lives are staged at parties in theater-like mansions. However, they are vulnerable: Miles is marked for death, Joel has a problem with alcohol, and Stella verges on hysteria with her insecurity.
Miles tries to turn his artistic creation, Stella Walker, into his real-life wife, but he cannot cope with that step in her transformation. Stella, with Miles’s death and the loss of her creator-director, believes she cannot manage and pleads for Joel’s support. Joel does not accept the real plea for help from Stella, for he still sees her as the little gamin whom Miles turned into a star.
Another theme in “Crazy Sunday” is the coexistence of the characters’ glamour and emotional...
(The entire section is 310 words.)
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All three of the main characters exhibit insecurity that prompts them to reach out for external approval and reassurance. Fitzgerald shows how insecurity strikes anyone, regardless of background, career success, or personal egoism. More specifically, he seems to be revealing that insecurity is prevalent in Hollywood.
Joel possesses the antithetical combination of insecurity and arrogance that is common in youth. On the one hand, he perceives himself as a talented writer (‘‘He referred to himself modestly as a hack but really did not think of it that way’’) who is ready to move among the elite in his industry. He even considers himself somewhat superior professionally because he can refuse alcohol (so he claims), unlike many of his peers. At the same time, he desperately seeks approval from others. He seeks the approval of Miles, Stella, and the partygoers, always switching his focus according to whom he thinks he can best impress. When Stella starts paying attention to him, he finds her irresistible, despite the fact that she is married to a powerful director and personal acquaintance of his. Even when he realizes that she is using him, he does not cut her out of his life right away. He is simultaneously disappointed and relieved when she suggests that her chauffeur drive him home. His conflicted feelings stem from his insecurity, his need to feel desirable, and his vague awareness of ethics.
(The entire section is 658 words.)