Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The point of view of “Crazy Sunday” is that of a limited omniscient, or selected omniscient, narrator. Everything is seen as Joel sees it or could see it; thus, dramatic irony is provided by the contrast between Joel’s perception of events and the deeper understanding afforded to the reader. When Joel makes a fool of himself at the Calman’s party, he is conscious of his error, but when, at the end of the story, he makes a much more serious mistake, abandoning Stella, only the reader grasps the significance of Joel’s action. Joel himself has lost the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, and thus he fails to see the reality of Stella’s suffering.

This is a dramatic story with cinematic effects. There is a five-part structure, with three strong Sunday scenes separated by interims at the studio. The interims set up the logical business of the Sunday scenes. Each Sunday shows the humiliation of a different main character, first of Joel at the Calman’s party, then of Miles being attacked for his adultery, and finally of Stella’s collapse with grief at the news of Miles’s death. In each scene, Joel’s love for Stella progresses a step further, a commitment from which he later retreats.

The fully dramatized Sunday scenes (which include the Saturday of the Perrys’ party, extending to the tragic early hours of Sunday) are visually oriented. Readers are constantly being directed to appearances, shapes, colors, positions. Moreover, the characters are always looking, seeing, noticing. In the world of “Crazy Sunday,” only appearances count.

As usual with good F. Scott Fitzgerald stories, there is crisp, concise observation: “an Italian-colored sweater,” “a dress like ice-water, made in a thousand pale-blue pieces, with icicles trickling at the throat,” “under the pure grain of light hair.” The descriptive language works well with the theme of glamorous make-believe threatened by reality.

Historical Context

(Short Stories for Students)

Hollywood in the 1930s
Early in the 1930s, color and sound came to Hollywood movies. This heightened public interest in American...

(The entire section is 652 words.)

Literary Style

(Short Stories for Students)

Fitzgerald uses foreshadowing to hint at Joel’s misfortune at Miles’s party and later with Stella. In Part I,...

(The entire section is 467 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Short Stories for Students)

1930s: Despite the Great Depression, this decade is a memorable one for the American film industry. Shirley Temple movies, epics...

(The entire section is 224 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

• Besides Fitzgerald, William Faulkner also worked in Hollywood in the 1930s. Research Faulkner’s experience in Hollywood and draw...

(The entire section is 206 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Short Stories for Students)

• Considered by most critics to be the definitive biography of Fitzgerald, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott...

(The entire section is 137 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Short Stories for Students)

Arendt, Hannah, The Human Condition, University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 50, 51, 58, 71.


(The entire section is 483 words.)


(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Berman, Ronald. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the Twenties. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001.

Berman, Ronald. “The Great Gatsby” and Fitzgerald’s World of Ideas. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Jay Gatsby. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2004.

Bruccoli, Matthew J., ed. New Essays on “The Great Gatsby.” Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Bruccoli, Matthew J., ed. Some Sort of Epic Grandeur. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981.

Curnutt, Kirk, ed. A Historical Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Eble, Kenneth. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1977.

Gale, Robert L. An F. Scott Fitzgerald Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Gross, Dalton, and MaryJean Gross. Understanding “The Great Gatsby”: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Kuehl, John. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1991.

Lee, A. Robert, ed. Scott Fitzgerald: The Promises of Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989.

Meyers, Jeffrey. Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.

Miller, James E., Jr. F. Scott Fitzgerald: His Art and His Technique. New York: New York University Press, 1964.

Stanley, Linda C. The Foreign Critical Reputation of F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1980-2000: An Analysis and Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004.

Tate, Mary Jo. F. Scott Fitzgerald A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.

Taylor, Kendall. Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, A Marriage. New York: Ballantine, 2001.