The Diamond as Big as the Ritz
How we cite our quotes:
John T. Unger came from a family that had been well known in Hades—a small town on the Mississippi River—for several generations. (1.1)
Notice that Fitzgerald introduces religion in the first sentence of his story – before we've even started talking about wealth or power. This supports the argument that "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" might be primarily concerned with religion.
John's first two years there passed pleasantly. The fathers of all the boys were money-kings and John spent his summers visiting at fashionable resorts. (1.4)
Notice that the patriarchs are described as "money-kings" – already there is an element of the mythological in this story.
When [John] told them where his home was they would ask jovially, "Pretty hot down there?" and John would muster a faint smile and answer, "It certainly is." His response would have been heartier had they not all made this joke—at best varying it with, "Is it hot enough for you down there?" which he hated just as much. (1.4)
There is a double meaning to this question. On the one hand, the men may be referring to the fact that John is from Mississippi – a far cry from Boston and of course a different (much hotter) climate. But it's also yet another poke in the ribs for the reader to remind him that John is from Hades, another name for Hell.