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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Writing Style Throughout 5 Novels Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 24th, 2020


F. Scott Fitzgerald, a renowned American novelist, lived between 1896 and1940. His works included five novels. Tender is the night, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, This Side of Paradise and Love of the Last Tycoon. The posthumous publishing of the latter, however, took place in 1941. The foundation of double vision evident in the five works is polarity, which means the setting of two extremes against each other that result in dramatic tension.

From the created dramatic tensions, the novels derive their main themes, characters, symbols, and settings that constitute the differing writing styles evident in the novels. In this paper, the focus is to describe and discuss the different writing styles deployed by the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s five novels: Tender is the night, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, This Side of Paradise and Love of the Last Tycoon.

Writing styles in the five novels

This Side of Paradise

Authored by F. Scott Fitzgerald at the age of 23, the debut novel This Side of Paradise employs three differing writing styles. These styles are “a fictional narrative, free verse, sometimes narrative drama, interspersed with letters and poems from Amory” (West 48). The dialect deployed is mainly American though with instances of coining French terms.

Through these styles, F. Scott Fitzgerald brings out outstanding aspects of his writings in This Side of Paradise, embracing the presentation of ideal qualities among his characters, some of the traits that he dreamed to posses. As a way of example, Amory Blaine was young, intelligent, good-looking, and a questing hero (Prigozy 39). The presentation of his characters in This Side of Paradise is characterized by their exact opposites- ugliness poverty and age.

This perhaps well confirms F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing style of double visions. The fictional narrative style presents some narratives, which critics presume that they cannot hold in the real world. For instance, John Grier, the president of Princeton University, where F. Scott Fitzgerald schooled reckons, “I cannot bear to think that our young men are merely living four years in a country club and spending their lives wholly in a spirit of calculation and snobbishness” (Bruccoli 125).

While such a situation may have been hard to encounter in actual practice, it depicts incredible capacity to deploy fiction to attract the readers’ enthusiasm and hence form the platforms of communication of the themes of the novel. “The novel’s odd blend of styles was the result of Fitzgerald cobbling his earlier attempt at a novel The Romantic Egotist together with assorted short stories and poems that he composed, but never published” (West 49). Blending writing styles and using them appropriately where their application is necessary indeed makes the novel This Side of Paradise a literary piece of genius.

The Beautiful and Damned

In The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald deploys a writing style that predominantly emphasizes on crucial dialogue among various characters or even situations of confusing dialogue. Passages entailing dialogues are emphasized by writing them in the form of a play as opposed to prose (Stern 10).

This style of writing is significant in many sections of the novel, especially where the reader would face immense challenges in determining people conversing in a certain section. For example, as West reckons ” in Book Two, Chapter 1 (The Radiant Hour), in the section entitled ‘Ushers,’ all of the men were conversing with one another with little else going on about them” (51). Had this part been written in the traditional prose format, the reader could not have been able to determine who is talking to.

In book one, chapter one, under the section titled “a flash back in paradise” (Fitzgerald The Beautiful and Damned 25), the dialogue between the Beauty and voice worked effectively often demanding very little or no description of time, spaces and the surroundings. The deployment of various writing styles, prose in some sections, and plays in others, help F. Scott Fitzgerald to use minimal words to express the main concern of the book. F. Scott Fitzgerald writes in book two, “Gloria laughed, torn between delight and derision; she resented his sophistry as at the same time she admired his nonchalance.

She would never blame him for being the ineffectual idler so long as he did sincerely, from the attitude that nothing much was worth doing” (Fitzgerald The Beautiful and Damned 178). Arguably, this shows that the novel is simply about ‘jazz age debauchery portrait devastations’ in which the elite and often privileged people constitute the cafe society.

Through the prose sections, the reader is informed that the novel is chiefly about Gloria Gilbert and Anthony Patch who live anticipating to inherit stupendous fortune upon the death of Anthony’s grandfather- Adams patch. The ability of the F. Scott Fitzgerald to link up various writing styles essentiality makes The Beautiful and Damned more effective as compared to when if the novel is done in only one style. The reader gets just enough depth of desired information that is both necessary for the understanding of the themes of the novel and making plot development easier for the author.

Love of the Last Tycoon

F. Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940 before he could have published Love of the Last Tycoon, published in 1941. However, the story of Stahr together with his lover immensely depicts the capacity of Love of the Last Tycoon to profile the state of the tale just as F. Scott Fitzgerald could have wanted it to look like.

Matthew Bruccoli made a collection of the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s notes, added a few of his thoughts to constitute the Love of the Last Tycoon. While there exists close semblance of the novel with other novels that F. Scott Fitzgerald had finished himself, in Love of the Last Tycoon there are frequent pauses, obvious jumps, and even breaks. The plot, however, ” seems to sputter along like an ancient jalopy, slowly jerking down long, monotonous dirt roads only to turn a corner and coast smoothly down a hill next to a lake, silently reflecting the beauty of surrounding snow-capped mountains” (Wilson 67).

Scrutiny of the Love of the Last Tycoon reveals F. Scott Fitzgerald’s immense killings to compose writing styles of his kind. This style embraces the use of the first person coupled with a series of narrative and dialogues of Cecilia Brady. Gale Thomson recognizes the relevance of this style and adds, “Fitzgerald creates an observant woman with Cecilia so that he can allow her to imagine scenes that she is not privy to in order to give certain parts of the novel a sense of the omniscient third person point of view while still being a first-person narrative” (31).

The novel is predominantly written in a manner that makes Cecilia seem as if she is writing to her friends or even some sympathetic strangers in an attempt to preserve the life of a man that she greatly cherished, Monroe Stahr (Donald 22). Consequently, this accords the writer an opportunity to grant Cecilia ability to imagine some peculiar scenes more substantially. It is in deed, unnecessary for Cecilia to speak out about her imaginations.

The novel deploys the first-person style of writing incredibly. This is perhaps well evidenced by the phrase “Even before that when I was in a convent, a sweet little nun asked me to get her a script of a screen play so she could ‘teach her class about movie writing’ as she had taught them about the essay and the short story. I got the script for her, and I suppose she puzzled over it and puzzled over it” (Fitzgerald Love of the last Tycoon 9).

The subject “I” infers that the novel utilizes first-person narration writing style. Being written in the first person, the prose anticipated from F. Scott Fitzgerald appears in the novel in several instances. At one instance, Stahr smiles at Mr. George Boxley, making the reader anticipate more details about this encounter.

However, these details are not explored since Mr. George Boxley never smiled back. Rather, “He came in with the air of being violently dragged though no one had a hand on him. “He stood in front of a chair, and again it was as if two invisible attendants seized his arms and set him down forcibly into it. He sat there morosely” (Fitzgerald Love of the last Tycoon 30-31).

This evidences the capacity F. Scott Fitzgerald to shift into various styles alternatively. Use of dialogue as a writing style makes it apparent that F. Scott Fitzgerald dialogue tended to be more informal during his last years. In the second person, he says, “You’ve been photographing crap.” “Do you know what she reminds me of in the rushes — ‘Miss Foodstuffs” (Fitzgerald Love of the last Tycoon 51). After a series of prose and dialogues, F. Scott Fitzgerald concludes the novel with the words- Love of the Last Tycoon in the unfinished sentence.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is perhaps among F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels that have attracted a lot of literal scholarly interest since it was written in 1925. Nick Carraway narrates the “Great Gatsby” in the first person. He is a native of Minnesota and advocate of Midwestern values. In the novel, he later relocates to New York, where he gets involved in the bond business. The novel setting is based in long island, which is dominated by prosperous wealthy and poor communities of East Egg and West Egg.

Fitzgerald, the author of the novel, happened to live in great neck, a village situated in Nassau County in long island. Akin to the writing style of The Great Gatsby is an immense deployment of symbols. Symbols are sufficiently used by the author to give the novel a more vivid description of the American dream. However, the symbols deployed tend to reflect much on a modern day social challenges like corruption. For instance, East Egg depicts places where Buchanans live.

In real life, this represents aristocrats, which took a long time to establish. Symbolically the author tags them “old money” (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli 54) and is generally characterized by corruption accompanied by jaded ways of life. On the other hand, west Egg residents or “new money” (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli 54) are perceived by East Egg counterparts as upstart outsiders. Nick and Gatsby live in this community.

Tender is the night

In Tender is the Night, the reader acquires a firsthand experience of a writing style analogous to Iceberg theory proposed by Ernest Hemingway. According to this theory, a partially submerged ice is only visible up to 20 percent. The rest, 80 percent of the ice, is normally submerged and hence invisible but a curious onlooker can be provoked to think about the magnitude of the immersed ice when he or she sees the visible 20 percent.

According to Shmoop Editorial Team, the writing style adopted by Tender is the night is just like the iceberg theory (Para 2). What the reader can directly interpret upon a surface reading Tender is the night is merely comparable to the 20 percent of an iceberg but yet on reading deeply; the reader is provoked to think of what lies underneath. Such a writing style is ideally symbolic and metaphoric.

For instance, towards the end of the novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald writes; “Swimming away, Nicole saw that the cloud of Dick’s heart-sickness had lifted a little as he began to play with Rosemary, bringing out his old expertness with people, a tarnished object of art” (Fitzgerald ‘Tender is the night’ 157). From the 20 percent iceberg view, the reader sees merely a woman seeing her husband enjoy a play with a lover with the only perception that such an act makes her husband happy making her realize how her husband is good with people.

Unfortunately, right below the surface, lie the forbidden realities between Nicole and Dick. For instance, F. Scott Fitzgerald writes, “Dick didn’t want to talk – he wanted to be alone so that his thoughts about work and the future would overpower his thoughts of love and to-day” (Fitzgerald ‘Tender is the night’ 121). From this, it is apparent that, just like Nicole, Dick had an immense problem of thinking that by involving oneself in some meaningful work a person could forfeit thinking about challenges encountered in a love affair (Becnel Para. 6).

About Shmoop Editorial Team, one dimension of interpreting Nicole’s response “is that when Nicole sees Dick, who’s been so, so unhappy, suddenly happy, she loses her jealousy out of love for him” (Para 4). Arguably, the presentation of Nicole and Dick relationship in a way analogous to a partially submerged iceberg is the reputation of F. Scott Fitzgerald and hence he is part of a partially submerged iceberg.

His style of writing Tender is the night is thus according to Shmoop Editorial Team “literally breathtaking, both in its beauty (cloud of heart-sickness) and in the possibility of its interpretations” (Para 5). Creating literal work in such an approach is ideally not simple for both the reader and the author, but Tender is the night indeed worth it.

Comparative analysis of the five novels’ writing styles

Comparatively, The Great Gatsby; Tender is the night; The Beautiful and Damned; This Side of Paradise and Love of the Last Tycoon have some common style- immense use of a symbol to convey the themes of novels- that is a characteristic of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writings. An example of a symbol used in the five novels is cars.

In The Great Gatsby, cars symbolize the decayed American Dream as Myrtle is killed by Gatsby’s car. The car accidents in The Great Gatsby as well as in This Side of Paradise where Dick Humbird, the man Amory idolizes, was killed in a car accident, and in Tender is the Night when Nicole tries to drive the car off of the road all symbolize the recklessness and irresponsibility of society at that time (Pitcher Para. 8).

Wealth and privileged life are also symbolized in Love of the Last Tycoon when the description of Monroe’s car is given, “a sudden gust of rain bounced over them, Stahr halted beside the road and lifted the canvas top,” (Fitzgerald Love of the last Tycoon 87).

The reader learns that he drives a convertible, but his girlfriend Kathleen drives an old jalopy, which like The Great Gatsby, shows the contrast of social status between the two types of cars. Fitzgerald deploys symbols such as uses cars to comment on society’s status system and materialism (Curnutt 18). The wealthy are depicted as privileged as they drive the best cars, amid the recognition of the fact that the rich are corrupt, unhappy, and flawed.


Differing literal genres deploy differing writing styles. However, such styles differ within the same genre depending on differing author’s expertise. In the paper, the effort was dedicated to introspect the writing styles deployed by F Scott Fitzgerald in his five novels Tender is the night, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, This Side of Paradise and Love of the Last Tycoon. Amid the different styles and approaches employed in each of the novels, the paper holds that some common styles exist among all the novels such as double vision and symbolism.

Works Cited

Becnel, Kim. “Literary Contexts In Novels: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender Is the Night. Literary Contexts in Novels: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Tender Is The Night.” Literary Reference Center 19 Aug. 2007. Print.

Bruccoli, Mathew. Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Columbia SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2002. Print.

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

Donald, Adams. “Scott Fitzgerald’s last novel.” The New York Times 09 Nov. 1941. Print.

Fitzgerald, Scott, and Matthew Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2000. Print.

Fitzgerald, Scott. Love of the last Tycoon. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1941. Print.

Fitzgerald, Scott. Tender Is the Night. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1962. Print.

Fitzgerald, Scott. The Beautiful and Damned. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

Gale, Thomson. The Last Tycoon from BookRags and Gale’s For Students Series. Thomson Corporation, 2006. Print.

Pitcher, Weiner. “Tender Is the Night”: Ordered Disorder in the “Broken Universe”” JSTOR. Modern Language Studies 3 March 2009. Print.

Prigozy, Ruth. The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

Shmoop Editorial Team. Tender is the Night Writing Style. New York: Shmoop University, 2008. Print.

Stern, Richard. The golden moment: the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1970. Print.

West, James. The question of vocation in This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned in Prigozy. New York, NY: Pearson, 2002. Print.

Wilson, Garret. Love of the Last Tycoon. New York: Scribner Paperback, 1994. Print.

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