What are the main themes that are covered in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned?

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The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a novel about the Jazz Age, or the time period before the great wars of World War I and World War II. In it, the author examines the usual themes ascribed to novels written before, during, or about the Jazz Age, such as inherited wealth, frivolity, and excess. This book is unique because it gives a very close account of Fitzgerald's relationship with Zelda, as fictionalized by the experiences and characters Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert, who are expatriate Americans who live in Europe during this time period, with a special emphasis issued on the pitfalls of close romantic relationships during a time of Great War and tribulation. Fitzgerald provides wealth and romanticism as an answer to these negative attributes of the time period, as evidenced by his relationship with Zelda.

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There is some disagreement as to the exact themes that Fitzgerald meant to represent in the story, but given the context and some of his other writings, there are a few that you can count on.  One constant is the fact that people living in the "high" society are generally characterized as vapid and somewhat empty of real emotion and feeling.  This is a theme present in many of Fitzgerald's works, perhaps most notably in The Great Gatsby.

Another theme is that of the incredible danger represented by inherited wealth.  If you look at Anthony's actions and consider that the guarantee of great wealth likely encouraged many of the most imprudent, etc., you can see that Fitzgerald felt that it was a very dangerous thing indeed.

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