Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The thematic uncertainty of “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” is reflected in the story’s style as well. Having identified no urgent, shaping idea for what is presumptively an allegory, Fitzgerald allows himself to be seduced into conceits that develop no coherent metaphoric pattern. For example: John rides the last miles of his journey to the Washingtons’ celestial estate in a huge automobile made of precious metals; the train has taken him only as far as the village of Fish, populated by twelve “sombre and inexplicable souls who sucked a lean milk from the almost literally bare rock on which a mysterious populatory force had begotten them.” “Fish” points to “ichthus,” the emblem of Jesus the Savior, the village’s dozen inhabitants patently represent the apostles. The meaning seems clear: The magnitude of the Washingtons’ opulence sets them beyond the pale of Christian teaching. However, why invent an extravagant metaphor to introduce an idea that will quickly become self-evident on John’s arrival at the chateau? Why, having gone to such lengths, subsequently neglect to elaborate the implications of an existence without moral stricture or to link that philosophical issue to any of the several other themes, including the one grandly paraded in the ending? In this instance, as in others, Fitzgerald apparently became infatuated with his own cleverness: Once he had created the image of the twelve men of Fish nursing at the ungenerous breast of...

(The entire section is 589 words.)

Historical Context

(Short Stories for Students)

Isolationism and Prohibition
Before World War II (1939–1945), the United States had a tendency towards isolationism;...

(The entire section is 440 words.)

Literary Style

(Short Stories for Students)

Point of View
“The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” is told from the third person point of view, from the perspective...

(The entire section is 1006 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Short Stories for Students)

  • 1920s: Though more women are joining the workforce (21 percent of women aged sixteen and over—though most of them...

(The entire section is 307 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

In telling the Washington family history, Fitzgerald refers to several actual historical figures. Research the following names and write a...

(The entire section is 232 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Short Stories for Students)

Many of the same wealth-related themes presented in “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” are explored in greater depth in Fitzgerald’s most...

(The entire section is 276 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Short Stories for Students)

“American Short Stories,” in Times Literary Supplement, April 19, 1923, p. 264.


(The entire section is 465 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.