F. Scott Fitzgerald

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What Inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald to write his books?

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Mary Sutton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As the previous educator mentioned, Fitzgerald used elements from his own life to build his characters. His mother, Mary McQuillan, was from an Irish Catholic family that had just immigrated to the United States. They acquired some wealth in Minnesota as wholesale grocers. In his short story titled "Winter Dreams," Dexter Green is the son of a successful grocer.

Green is also both the son of a father whose family had been in the United States for generations and the son of a mother of recently extracted eastern European stock. Fitzgerald's mother's family had immigrated to the United States in the 1800s, while Francis Scott Key, the composer of "The Star-Spangled Banner," was an ancestor on his father's side. Fitzgerald was thus the son of American aristocracy on one side and an ambitious upstart on the other. His protagonists, particularly Jay Gatsby (born James Gatz), reflected that. They were ambitious, Midwestern, and still somewhat ethnically European, but they were eager to join...

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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