Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The story is told by a first-person observer-narrator, who identifies himself as a friend of Anson. As Anson’s confidant, the narrator is privy to Anson’s thoughts, yet he is able to relate his perception of events objectively, particularly as one who has not been reared in wealth. Thus, he is the persona of Fitzgerald and is able to interpret the effects of Anson’s actions objectively, though with more compassion toward Anson than Anson exhibits toward others; thus, the narrator also serves as a foil to Anson.

The psychological realism evidenced in “The Rich Boy” is accomplished through Fitzgerald’s close attention to detail and through a consistent, believable portrayal of the characters’ thoughts, actions, and personalities. He divulges to the reader the inner workings of the mind of a wealthy, arrogant young man and the social influences that have formed him.