The diamond as big as the ritz


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The diamond as big as the ritz

  2. 2. BIOGRAPHY  Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896, to Edward and Mary ("Mollie") Fitzgerald. In 1898, the family moved to upstate New York, where Edward worked as a salesman for Procter and Gamble. By the time the family returned to St. Paul, Fitzgerald was twelve years old, and his parents enrolled him at St. Paul Academy. At St. Paul Academy, he wrote stories for the school magazine and performed in school plays. After the academy, he went on to the Newman School in Hackensack, New Jersey, a Catholic prep school.  In 1917, he entered the army. One of the most significant results of Fitzgerald's military service was that, while stationed in Alabama, he fell in love with Zelda Sayre, the daughter of a judge on the Alabama
  3. 3. CONTD…  In March 1920, his first novel,This Side of Paradise was published. A week later he married Zelda Sayre. That same year, Fitzgerald's first collection of short stories was published, entitled Flappers and Philosophers. These two books established Fitzgerald's reputation as the official chronicler of the Jazz Age, the name used for the 1920s. He was especially known for his stories featuring flappers, young women exploring the new social and fashion freedoms and rebelling against the restrictive mores of the past.  In October 1921, Zelda Fitzgerald gave birth to the couple's first and only child, a girl named Frances Scott Key Fitzgerald, whom the couple called Scottie. Then in 1922, Fitzgerald had two more books published: The Beautiful and Damned, a novel, and Tales of the Jazz Age, his second collection of short stories, which includes ―The Diamond as Big as the Ritz."
  4. 4. CONTD…  Fitzgerald's heavy drinking, and Zelda's gradually deteriorating mental health took a toll on their marriage. In 1924, the couple spent time in France, where Fitzgerald wrote his best-known novel, The Great Gatsby (1925).  After The Great Gatsby, the quality of Fitzgerald's work was erratic, affected by his continued drinking and his stressful relationship with Zelda. However, his 1926 collection of stories, All the Sad Young Men, garnered favorable reviews, though it did little to improve the Fitzgeralds' financial situation. Despite mounting debt, the couple lived extravagantly, much like the characters in Fitzgerald's fiction. In 1930, Zelda suffered a complete mental collapse and
  5. 5. CONTD…  In 1934, he finally finished his fourth novel, Tender Is the Night, which he had been working on sporadically since 1925. At the time of its release, critics were not fond of the book, feeling that it was a less successful treatment of the same themes explored in The Great Gatsby. In 1935, Fitzgerald published a collection of short stories entitled Taps at Reveille, which was reviewed by few critics. Fitzgerald was aware of the decline of his work and wrote a series of essays on his own emotional decline as an artist, published in Esquire magazine.  In 1937, Fitzgerald moved to Los Angeles, California, to find work as a screenwriter. While working in the film industry, he began writing a novel set in Hollywood, to be titled The Last Tycoon. Before he could finish the book, however, Fitzgerald died suddenly of a heart attack on December 21, 1940. The unfinished novel was published posthumously in 1941. He was survived by his wife Zelda, who died in a hospital fire in 1948, and his daughter Scottie, who died in 1986.
  6. 6. CHARACTERS John T. Unger John is the protagonist of the story. He was born and raised in Hades and is some-what embarrassed by his birthplace. He loves material goods and works to impress others because of it. As he states to Percy, "The richer a fella is, the better I like him." However, although he obsesses over wealth, he is also a sensitive young man, as he begins crying upon separation from his father. He is not entirely self- motivated, as he may appear at first. In fact, he has a kind heart. He is appalled at the Washingtons for their lack of sensitivity for other humans and when saving himself at the end, he also saves Kismine and Jasmine, without a second thought. Percy Washington He is the elusive friend of John, who invites John to his home for the summer, fully aware that John will have to die. This proves his selfishness as well as his disregard for human life, as he would rather let John die than be without a friend for the summer. He is conceited, insensitive, and is obsessed with wealth. "I love jewels. I've got quite a collection of them myself," he proudly informs John. He even refers to his limo as "old junk used for a station wagon." He shows that he cares for nothing except for his own personal wealth and happiness.
  7. 7. CONTD… Braddock Washington Mr. Braddock Washington establishes himself as the antagonist early upon meeting him. Percy's father and the richest man in the world, he stumbles upon a diamond the size of an entire mountain and goes to great lengths to protect his wealth. He has captivated slaves, "darkies," to mine the diamond, and even has aircraft guns to protect the mine. He has complete disregard for the human race, and anyone that comes to his home is locked in a cage in the ground or promptly killed. Even when his end is near, he tries to bribe God with a diamond, even though it is the diamonds that have caused his destruction. Kismine Washington She is Percy's younger sister who falls in love with John. Because of her love for John, she warns him of his upcoming death and says that she is "sorry that John will have to be put away." This statement of hers also brings out another of her traits. She is very naive of the common world and even death. Although she hasn't invited any "guests" to stay at the house yet, she believes that she will "harden up to it." Her naivety also prevails when she is looking at her collection of rhinestones. She states that she would much rather have rhinestones than diamonds, because she was "getting a little tired of diamonds." As she has only experienced her own rich life, she is also very naive of the average life style. She casually states to John, "Think of the millions and millions of people in the world, labourers and all, who get along with only two maids."
  8. 8. CONTD… Jasmine Washington She is another sister of Percy Washington and a static character. The readers do not learn too much about her except that she is also very "hardened" by the wealth. She thinks little of inviting friends to her home, knowing fully that they will be murdered at the end of their stay. However, she is selfish and would rather have their company for the summer before they are murdered, than be without friends. The Prisoners Underneath his all-green golf course, Braddock Washington has imprisoned two dozen aviators who had the misfortune to discover his property. They are a spirited bunch, shouting curses and defiant insults at Washington when he stops by for a visit but also trying to talk him into releasing them. When they hear that one of their number managed to escape, they dance and sing in celebration.
  9. 9. SUMMARY  The story tells of John T. Unger, a teenager from the town of Hades, Mississippi, who was sent to a private boarding school in Boston. During the summer he would visit the homes of his classmates, the vast majority of whom were from wealthy families.  In the middle of his sophomore year, a young man named Percy Washington was placed in Unger's form. He would speak only to Unger, and then very rarely, but invited him for the summer to his home, the location of which he would only state as being "in the West", an invitation Unger accepted.  During the train ride Percy boasted that his father was "by far the richest man in the world", and when challenged by Unger boasted that his father "has a diamond bigger than the Ritz-Carlton Hotel."
  10. 10. CONTD…  Unger would later learn that he was in Montana, in the "only five square miles of land in the country that's never been surveyed," and the unusual and bizarre story that proved Percy's boasts to be incredibly true.  Percy's ancestry traces back to both George Washington and Lord Baltimore. His grandfather, Fitz-Norman Culpepper Washington, decided to leave Virginia and head west with his slaves to enter the sheep and cattle ranching business. However, on his claim he discovered not only a diamond mine, but a mountain consisting of one solid diamond.
  11. 11. CONTD…  Washington immediately found himself in a quandary. By all accounts he would be the richest man ever to live – however, the sheer quantity of diamonds would drive their value to virtually nothing.  He immediately hatched a plan, whereby his brother read to the negroes a fabricated proclamation by General Nathan Bedford Forrest that the South had defeated the North in the American Civil War – thus keeping them in perpetual slavery. Washington travels the world selling only a few diamonds at a time, in order to avoid flooding the market, but enough to give him enormous wealth.
  12. 12. CONTD…  In order to keep the diamond a secret, the Washington family goes to appalling lengths. Airmen who stray into the area are captured and kept in a dungeon. People who visit are killed and their parents told that they have succumbed to an illness while staying there.  John falls in love with Percy's sister, Kismine, who accidentally lets slip that he too will be killed before he's allowed to leave. That night, an escaped airman launches an attack on the property and Percy's father offers a bribe to God, "the greatest diamond in the world", but God refuses. John, Kismine and Jasmine, another sister, escape while Percy and his mother and father choose to blow up the mountain rather than leave it in the hands of others. Penniless, John, Kismine and Jasmine are left to ponder their fate.
  13. 13. ANALYSIS Through Unger's perspective, Fitzgerald condemns not just the Washingtons' amoral lifestyle, but also the middle-class attitude towards wealth that makes their lifestyle possible. The reader waits in vain for Unger to speak out, to express some outrage or horror at the Washingtons' way of life, but until his own life is threatened, Unger seems willing to overlook almost anything to continue enjoying the luxuries and pleasures of their home. Because Unger is not as wealthy as his classmates at St. Midas, he is even more easily seduced by their lifestyle, and his astonishment at the home's extravagance is more in line with what the average reader might feel.
  14. 14. CONTD… This short story has several themes running throughout. However, the reader soon learns that the central theme Fitzgerald wished to display was that too much money and material goods causes a person to lose their sense of reality and morality. This is made evident through various events that take place in the story. For example, it is the diamond itself that has caused the Washingtons to isolate themselves in the hills of Montana. They wish to preserve the mine for themselves and live their lives in solitary in the hills. In addition, their sense of morality is entirely lost, as they either kill or cage everybody that enters the property, even if someone just accidentally
  15. 15. CONTD… The Washingtons will even go to the extent of inviting friends to the home, having fun for the summer, and then killing them at the end of their stay so that they can not report what they have seen. This moral decay continues until the very end, even when the Washington's have been discovered. Instead of praying to God, or even pleading, Braddock tries to bribe God with diamonds to save his wealth. Needless to say, his bribe is rejected, and the mountain is destroyed. Fitzgerald's lesson was clear: if you become too obsessed with material wealth, the decay of morality will soon follow.
  16. 16. RHETORICS The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" is told from the third person point of view, from the perspective of John T. Unger. Fitzgerald makes his story come alive with detailed descriptions of the environment and the characters. Although his style is very simplistic, and he doesn't use a lot of sophisticated vocabulary, his figurative language gives the story a sophisticated sound. For example, similies appear on almost every page: "The Montana sunset lay between two mountains like a gigantic bruise from which dark arteries spread themselves over a poisoned sky." His metaphors provide effective descriptions as well: "Percy's mouth was a half-moon of scorn." From the figurative language, the readers are able to grasp a feel of what it would be like to be in the shoes of John T. Unger.
  17. 17. CONTD…  Fitzgerald's use of extreme exaggeration, increases the feeling of fantasy, and his descriptions of the Washingtons' home have a surreal quality. By making the chateau impossibly luxurious, Fitzgerald lets the reader know, once again, that this is not a literal or realistic story. A diamond as big as an entire mountain, a clear crystal bathtub with tropical fish swimming beneath the glass, hallways lined with fur, dinner plates of solid diamond, a car interior upholstered in tapestries, gold and precious gems — all these extravagant, unreal elements add to the otherworldly character of the Washingtons' property. Furthermore, they seemed to suggest a sense that too much is indeed too much.