The 1920s was thought of as boisterous era , full of fast cars , jazz , speakeasies and wild parties. People were indulged in new types of dance and style it was the decade of free wheeling and defining probation. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a writer in the 1920s , his work reflected his life happening around him. Within his writing he portrays the idea of the American dream and it failure, he emphasises class and wealth, society and status. The poor, The rich and the ones in between. He uses this characters to illustrate these ideas, they are what connect his stories together. Jay Gatsby , Dexter Green , John Unger and Benjamin Button , the Male Protagonists of The Great Gatsby, Winter dreams ,The Diamond as big as the ritz ,Benjamin button are all very similar characters. Each individual shares the same somewhat unreachable dream , each spend their lives , wasting away there lives , chasing the “ Golden Girl”. Fitzgeralds golden girl is not just a made up story character she is a representation of girls and women in society. She is a vision of what the perfect girl would be like. At the same time it’s a way Fitzgerald somewhat exposes the perfect girl and shows what really lies underneath. The lead males come from middle class families and work their way up into high class societies building a life that they think their golden girl would want to be apart of. Although they work up into the high society life they don’t and will never reach the elite status as golden girl.
For example Jay Gatsby the male protagonist in the book The Great Gatsby , was born into a poor farming family. After meeting Daisy Buchanan , a wealthy beautiful woman , he then goes and then creates ‘ just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen−year−old boy would be likely to invent”. He creates an illusion of himself , he becomes a man that a girl like Daisy might want to be with. Everything he does from then on is all for his Golden Girl , she is dream , his unreachable goal. Jay Gatsby worked through bootlegging his way into the rich life, all for daisy buchanan. Daisy is the lead female in the Great Gatsby and like many of Fitzgerald’s female roles in his other stories , Daisy is rich and beautiful but not seen for much else. She is shallow and bored , she has enough time in her life to wait for the longest year “Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it.” there isn’t much to her character , she is beautiful and rich and nothing more. Despite all this , Gatsby still commits his whole life to chasing her and to revive there lost love. Yet in the end all Gatsby’s strong hope , and his vivid dream to be with Daisy kills him.
Much like Jay Gatsby , Dexter Green , the male protagonist, in Winter Dreams, also commits his whole life to a golden girl ‘Judy Jones’. Dexter comes from a middle class family and worked as a caddie at the Sherry island golf club for pocket money. While he is there he meets his golden girl he describes her as “beautifully ugly as little girls are apt to be who are destined after a few years to be inexpressibly lovely and bring no end of misery to a great number of men.” later in the story we find out that Dexter Green is one of those men she will bring “no end of misery to”. Dexter leaves the caddie and goes and tries to build a life Judy Jones could be apart of , much like Gatsby did for Daisy. He worked his way up into the wealthy society because that’s the life that Judy lived , he became a professional golfer at the club he used to caddie at in hopes that he would then meet his golden girl once more. Dexter throws his whole life away for this Judy Jones the golden girl , even a wife he already had. Judy Jones like Daisy she was wealthy and beautiful , both seem to have the power to enchante and capture the likes of Dexter and Gatsby. “The helpless ecstasy of losing himself in her charm was a powerful opiate rather than a tonic.” Both male characters have been sucked into a life they cannot be apart of , they have become addicted to a girl they will never be with yet they don’t seem to see and understand this until it’s too late.
By creating an illusion we can hide aspects of our live , we can create a new layer. We can not change who we really are but can change how other people see us. Gatsby did this ,so did Dexter and in The diamond as big as the Ritz an illusion was also created. The diamond as big as the Ritz is a story about , again a younger man , John Unger , has come from a middle class family in Hades . He is wealthy but not in the elite society. He goes away to boarding school and meets a man , Percy washington , whose father is the richest man alive except no one can know about his money. Percy Washington and John Unger become great friends and Percy invites John over for the summer to hidden mansion in the Montana Rockies. The house has to be hidden from everyone because it sits upon a huge diamond rock. In this story the house is the illusion , to the outside world it doesn’t even exist and once the outside world finds out , it all must go. Again our male protagonist falls in love with a woman he will never truly be able to be with. John falls for one of percy’s sisters , Kasmin. They spend the summer together and just as its getting good she tells him her father is going to kill him. Just like fitzgerald’s other stories John has dream , he has a Golden Girl , yet his dream is unreachable and the golden girl is just apart of that unreachable dream. John gets to be with his golden girl for a while but has to go back to live in hades, John has become apart of that illusion and the only way to get out was for him to be killed or from the illusion to break and with it take the man who created it. He escaped his but lost the illusion and most likely will lose his golden girl.
Benjamin Button is another male protagonist in F.Scott Fitzgerald stories,he was born old and ages backwards. This story is different from the others , a different setting and the whole idea is quite a different take on life. Benjamin Button faces different problems to the other male character but also many of the same ones. He is obviously quite different from a normal boy but that’s all he has ever know. The illusion in the story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the the illusion Benjamin creates within himself. Benjamin does not see himself different he has grown up in an old people’s home where the people around him look just the same as he does and treat him like he is one of them. Yet While in the old peoples home he meets his golden girl. Daisy is a younger girl who has come to visit an old lady in the home often. Benjamin sees Daisy a few times and falls in love with her. She becomes his golden girl. They are together for a while and have a daughter. The time they are together is the time when daisy and benjamins ages overlap they are similar. But eventually Daisy starts to get older and Benjamin younger. Daisy starts to realise they are not going to be able to be together forever and soon Benjamin is going to be to younger and she will have to start looking after him as if he was her son. But Benjamin has created this illusion so deep inside him him that he is no different to anyone else and that they will be able to be together. He, just like Jay Gatsby, Dexter Green and John Unger has followed a dream , set a goal that will forever be unreachable.
Jay Gatsby does not end up with Daisy Buchanan, Dexter Green does not end up with Judy Jones ,
Benjamin Button does not end up with Daisy , John Unger does end up with Kasmin but just like all of the other characters loses everything else. Each individual buried themselves so deep into their own illusions there was no coming out. Everything was given up, everything was set towards being with their golden girl and reaching their unachievable dream. They committed their whole lives towards this and it only ends up killing them. Not only did they each commit their whole lives to these girls , they made up new ones they hide their true identity, with illusions , tried to be someone. But no matter how hard you try you can never change who you really are. These four male characters could not see these and it ruined them.