The Folly of Socialites: The Beautiful and Damned

The Beautiful and Damned by F.Scott Fitzgerald (366 pages) explores the rise and fall of the famous literature couple: Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert. The couple falls madly in love and decides to embrace an entertaining, yet hedonistic lifestyle that ultimately destroys their relationship. The couple is symbolic of Fitzgerald’s relationship with his own wife, Zelda Fitzgerald. The beauty of this novel comes from being apart of the socialite lifestyle which entails, the drinking, the partying, and the constant entertainment that follows suite.

 

Anthony and Gloria ultimately succumb to the consequences of their lifestyle such as alcoholism and crippling finances. Anthony changes over the course of the novel from a handsome man to a beer bellied alcoholic, while Gloria loses the beauty in her complexion. The Beautiful and Damned is reflective upon the college social lifestyle, specifically on the negative consequences that follow suite: weight gain, alcoholism, and eventually meandering around the streets of Gainesville as a bum.

 

This story is the picture perfect rise and fall of a beautiful relationship. In the beginning Anthony is celebrated as a WW1 war hero and relishes in the praise he receives. He is also the heir to a tycoon’s fortune, but his claim to the fortune is a mystery. Anthony and Gloria’s excessive spending and hedonistic lifestyle eventually becomes their downfall, and leaves Anthony meandering around New York like a drunken fool. People that he once thought of as friends begin to view him as an alcoholic and even call him out on his debauchery.

 

The Beautiful and Damned in a sense is the perfect example of a beautiful relationship between two people: they’re madly in love, live a care-free lifestyle, but eventually succumb to the destruction of a care-free lifestyle. It’s similar to holding a work of art and then promptly crushing it in your palm. The revelation of whether Anthony inherits the fortune is a mystery, but the state of his well-being remains in ruin.

 

WC: 325

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