What is the purpose of Scott Fitzgerald in "The Ice Palace" and what are the principle themes?
Fitzgerald represents his relationship with his wife, Zelda, through the characters of Sally Carrol-who is a southerner, and Harry-who is a northerner. Zelda was a southerner and Fitzgerald was a northerner in real life. The representation of the clash of the two geographical areas represent his own experiences and attitudes.
The main theme is that of a cultural conflict. Sally Carrol and Harry are engaged, yet both have a hatred for the area each lives and loves. The warm south that Sally loves is apparent with her hatred of the frozen north. The civil war is between these two as well, as evidenced in the visit to the cemetery with the confederate's graves. The obstacles are too great for the two, and the underlying incapability is evident.
On some level the story expresses Fitzgerald's own fascination with Southern women, and the Northern men like himself who fall in love with them. Because this story is more or less from Sally Carroll's point of view, Fitzgerald imagines this romantic equation from the female (and Southern) perspectives, the opposite of his own experience. Despite Sally Carroll's inability to fully adjust to life in a cold climate, Fitzgerald does make it seem plausible that she is captivated by the culture and beauty of the Northeast, in much the same way some of Fitzgerald's male characters have been charmed by the South.