F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories reveal the author as a romantic idealist who captured the breathless exultation of the 1920s yet retained the ability to distance himself from the social scene and carefully critique it.’ Discuss Fitzgerald’s short stories in the light of this statement.
The observation of F. Scott Fitzgerald – that he was “the ultimate romantic idealist who would capture both the breathless exultation of the period yet retain the ability to distance himself and carefully critique it” – is grounded in Fitzgerald’s maturation as an observer of 1920s society and of his growing cynicism regarding the superficial nature of much that was so exciting about that period, especially in New York City during the so-called Jazz Age and before the 1929 crash of the stock market. In his novel This Side of Paradise, one of Fitzgerald’s characters, Amory, famously describes himself as “a cynical idealist.” That quote, as well as any of Fitzgerald’s many noteworthy expressions, captured the author’s ability to “distance himself and carefully critique” the almost surrealist atmosphere in which he was immersed. A common theme throughout much of Fitzgerald’s writing, both fiction and nonfiction, including his “notebooks,” is one of...
(The entire section contains 568 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial
Winter Dreams is another one of Fitzgerald's short stories that criticizes American society and the American dream. It denounces materialism and consumerism. Dexter is obsessed with acquiring wealth and being the best. Although he seems to have all of the good life, he is not happy. Dexter pursues a girl thinking she will make him happy but that does not solve his problem either. Fitzgerald seems to be arguing overall that materialism and consumerism will never lead to happiness--only to illusions.