The Great Gatsby takes place in summer. “Westport was his and Zelda’s first summer in the East. Think of all of us when we are around twenty, and we see some other landscape. That has an effect that ten years later, it wouldn’t have. It’s about growing up. Well that had to be very powerful” (1). Like his narrator and witness Nick Carraway, FSF viewed that summers event’s through the moral glass of the Midwest he had just left. (2)
In “The Jelly Bean” the protagonists’ attempt to remodel himself – of love motivating self-improvement in order to attract a woman of society – would in five years later be a central focus of The Great Gatsby (3) It was published in October of 1920, the last month of the Fitzgerald’s stay in Westport.
Flappers and Philosophers was the first collection of short stories written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and was published in 1920. It includes eight stories: “The Offshore Pirate”,”The Ice Palace”, “Head and Shoulders”, “The Cut-Glass Bowl”, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair”, “Benediction”, “Dalyrimple Goes Wrong” and the “The Four Fists”.“The Offshore Pirate” is one of eight short stories included in Fitzgerald’s first published collection, Flappers and Philosophers (4). In “The Offshore Pirate” story we can perhaps see the early anticipation of Gatsby in which Toby’s rags to riches tale and his lavishing money on an elaborate scale to win the girl he desires.(5) ‘The Rich Boy’ like Gatsby utilizes an outside narrator to tell the story of a wealthy protagonist in a sympathetic but still somewhat distanced way (6).
July 1920 “May Day” published – discussion of the character Phil’s “family of thick silk shirts, impressive neckties…” prefacing Gatsby’s famous shirts.
“Dice, Brass Knuckles & Guitar” is considered one of the “cluster stories” were used to introduce or test settings, themes, and situations which found their way into the GG. It anticipates his most accomplished writing in Gatsby (7) . Although Bruccoli states that it was written in 1923 Zelda recollected it as being written in Westport in 1920. In a letter to Scott later in her life she writes “There were lilacs open to the dawn near the boarding house [of Alice Marchand] in Westport where we sat up all night over “Brass Knuckles and Guitar.” The story anticipates Nick Carraways comment in The Great Gatsby with Amanthis’s comment to Jim “you are better than all of them put together:” (8)
There was a close- even symbiotic- relation between Fitzgerald’s magazine fiction and his novels because the stories often functioned as tryouts for subjects and themes that were more complexly developed in novels (9) . ‘[His short stories] he stripped and mined…mercilessly for scenes and characters and moods he incorporated into his novels.’ (10)
Three films of Fitzgerald’s short stories were made in 1920 alone.
1.Barbara Probst Solomon.
2. Le Vot, 118-119.
5. Long, 208.
7. C&B, 141.
8. A-Z, 57.
9. Baughman, F. Scott Fitzgerald on Authorship, 18.
10. Milford, 219.