The analysis of the text -May Day- by F. S. Fitzgerald
The analysis of the text “May Day” by F. S. Fitzgerald. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896- December 21, 1940) was an Irish American Jazz Age novelist and short story writer. Fitzgerald is regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. In his own age, Fitzgerald was the self-styled spokesman of the “Lost Generation”, or the Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I. He finished four novels, left a fifth unfinished, and wrote dozens of short stories that treat themes of youth, despair, and age.
Many admire what they consider his remarkable emotional honesty. His heroes- handsome, confident, and doomed – blaze brilliantly before exploding, and his heroines are typically beautiful, intricate, and alluring. Fitzgerald started writing for periodicals, publishing early stories such as “The Diamond as Big as The Ritz,” later collected in Tales of The Jazz Age (1922). Fame and prosperity were both welcome and frightening; in The Beautiful and Damned (1922), he describes the life he and Zelda feared, a descent into ennui and dissipation.
The Fitzgeralds moved in 1924 to the French Riviera, where they fell in with a group of American expatriates, described in his last completed novel, Tender Is The Night (1934). Shortly after their arrival, he completed his greatest work, The Great Gatsby (1925), which poignantly expresses his ambivalence about American life, at once vulgar and dazzlingly promising. Some of his finest short stories of this period, particularly “The Rich Boy” and “Absolution,” appeared in All the Sad Young Men (1926). His last work, the Hollywood novel The Last Tycoon (1941), was left unfinished at his death at 44 of alcohol-related causes.
The text under analysis is an extract from the short story “May Day”. The text is about two friends, who are both twenty-four, Yale graduates of the year before the war. One of them is Philip Dean, a wealthy successful man, who is in his vacations in New York; the other friend is Gordon Sterrett, the straight opposition to his friend, an unsuccessful penniless man who is searching for a job in New York. In this extract Gordon Sterrett is begging Philip Dean to give him some money to make a fresh start. At the end they quite suddenly and definitely hated each other.
The theme of the text is the conflict between rich and poor, . The introduction of the text is written in high-flown style. The setting is New York City at the end of the First World War (“There had been a war fought and won and the great city of the conquering people was crossed with triumphal arches and vivid with thrown flowers of white, red and rose”). The author shows pathos and triumph which is typical to chronicles and epic narrations with the help of different figures of speech, so he uses a lot of stylistic devises, such as epithets – great and vivid city, triumphal arches, resonant wind of the brasses. inversion: “There had been a war fought and won…”, “thrown flowers of white, red and rose”. The next part is narrated in the form of dialogue between two young friends. It is full of shortenings such as it’s, I’m, you’d, you’ll, I’ve, won’t, and , and vulgarisms: Every God damn thing…, I’ve made a hell of….. The text is told in the 3rd person singular. Fitzgerald likes to include a lot of dialogue, not only to keep the reader’s attention, but also to elaborate on what was taking place throughout the story and give a more in-depth look into the lives of the characters in the story.
The dialogues enabled the reader to feel as though you were a character in the story. Before a dialogue the narrator gives some background information indirectly to enable the reader to follow along with the interaction that is to take place between characters. Much of the detail he puts into the story act as a stage direction, similar to that of a play. The author introduced to a wide range of characters, though really there are only two types: the fortunate and the unlucky, the haves and have-nots. He represented them in a contrast. They are described indirectly through their actions, speech, thoughts, appearance.
Fitzgerald could hardly make the distinction clearer than in the substantive opening chapter, which reacquaints old Yale graduates Gordon Sterrett (“his eyes … framed below with the blue semicircle of ill health, heightened by an unnatural glow which coloured his face like a low, incessant fever”) and Philip Dean (“blond, ruddy and rugged … Everything about him radiated fitness and bodily comfort”). Sterrett is down on his luck, and Dean finds that “there was something in his present misery that repelled him and hardened him, even though it excited his curiosity.
By the end of the chapter, when Dean has loaned Sterrett five dollars, “they quite suddenly and definitely hated each other. ” Firstly, the author depicted them in an opposition their appearance and clothing. They are described with the help of epithets: George Sterrett is a small, slender, darkly handsome man dressed in a shabby suit with ragged and linty shirt-cuff, faded and thumb-creased tie of former glory; while Philip Dean was blond, ruddy, and rugged under his thin pajamas. Everything about him radiated fitness and bodily comfort. He smiled frequently, showing large and prominent teeth.”, ” a family of thick silk shirts littered on the chairs amid impressive neckties and soft woollen socks. “, ” dressed in blue silk pajamas”, ” It was of very heavy silk, yellow, with a pale blue stripe –and there were nearly a dozen of them”, “fresh underwear”. The emotional state of main characters is rather different, too. It changes from enthusiastic, surprised and with a half-exuberance in the very beginning to anxious, depressive and with rising anger in the last paragraph: “… shook his head impatiently”, ” …. hated each other.
” Philip Dean is a self-affected person, also he is a former sportsman and the following details of his behavior “polishing the body, draping reluctantly, inspecting calves and knees, bestowing” depict it. Similarity “the sunshine which poured” expresses the excellent mood of the heroes. F. S. Fitzgerald vividly depicts his image by using “being unfairly saddled with responsibility” to distinguish Philip’s condition during the conversation. Thee author used the personification “eyes roved nervously around the room” and for his eyes “resting for a moment” shows how unconfident and shy Gordon was at the moment?when George was alone in the room. The metaphor “the morning sunshine poured into the room” is used to create a relaxing atmosphere to stress Philip’s confidence. The author implies the metaphor “I can draw like a streak” in order to prove his talent. Also one point is their voice, which is changed, too. Firstly they spoke eagerly, gradually enthusiastic, moreover we can see some peculiarities of colloquial and literary speech “Weil, how was Gordy, old boy! ” “I’m all in. “, “… look all shot” to lead the readers into the positive feelings of old friends.
But during the conversation the situation changes so the voice becomes: miserable, shaking and trembling with a hesitant note and cold formalism, shook his head impatiently. Asyndeton ” It’s an air of worry and poverty and sleepless nights” was used in order to support the miserable emotional attitude of Gordon. In conclusion we can mention that Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is considered a member of the ‘Lost Generation,’ and key terms of Fitzgerald’s works – Jazz Age, Lost Generation and American Dream. The main idea depicts it. This idea is the basis for such phenomenon in American culture as American dream.