Study Guide

F. Scott Fitzgerald The Crack-Up

The Crack-Up

The stock market crash brought the music of the Jazz Age to a screeching halt. People lost their savings in the massive stock market collapse of October 1929. Frightened consumers stopped spending whatever money they had left, sparking a worldwide downturn. Banks failed. (Is any of this starting to sound familiar?) Unemployment reached 30 percent. To make matters worse, a drought in 1930 ravaged farmers. It was a hard time in America.

Fitzgerald didn't lose money in the market; he never owned stock. But the dawn of the 1930s spelled the end of an era for him and Zelda. "We will never feel quite so intensely about our surroundings anymore," he wrote in Echoes of the Jazz Age . It was politically correct among writers and intellectuals to be liberal, if not Marxist. Fitzgerald was never politically active and was not willing to reveal political leanings of any kind in his work. He never catered to the desire for social redemption. He and his characters became reflective, musing on the talent squandered and the opportunities lost in an age of decadence.