Fitzgerald Protagonists

There is a very direct similarity between one’s behavior and one’s
environment. Humans are products of the environments they inhabit. Humans evolve
and adopt behaviors which are very similar to those found in their social
climate. This is especially true when examining the characters of F. Scott

Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald presents the characters in his novels as products of a
society void of moral integrity. Since Fitzgerald’s protagonists in The Last

Tycoon, The Great Gatsby, and Tender is The Night, succumb to the moral desert
of high society, they end their lives in failure. Fitzgerald places his
protagonist in The Last Tycoon, The Great Gatsby , and Tender is The Night, in
the moral desert of high society; an environment very foreign to these
characters. Jay Gatsby, the protagonist in The Great Gatsby, is drawn into the
decadent and morally defunct society of upper-class Long Island. Daisy
illustrates the moral void that exists in the Long Island society when she
discusses her daughter with Nick. Daisy says: It’ll show you how I’ve gotten
to feel about--things. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows
where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked
the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl and so

I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a
girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool-- that’s the best thing a girl can be in
this world, a beautiful little fool.’ ... I (Nick) felt the basic insincerity
of what she had said. It made me uneasy... as if she had asserted her membership
in a rather distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belonged (21).

Daisy depicts the moral void that exists in Gatsby’s society with her
insensitive and selfish response to her daughter’s birth. In addition to this

Daisy also depicts the snobbery that exists in this society through the way she
treats Nick, the narrator of the novel. Nick makes an observation that shows the
lack of moral value held by the Long Island society when he describes Tom and

Daisy. Nick says, "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -- they smashed
up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast
carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people
clean up the mess they had made . . ."(180) These quotes clearly illustrate
the insensitivity, snobbery and utter selfishness held by those who inhabit the
morally void society. This society influences Gatsby’s moral decline. The
amoral Long Island society in The Great Gatsby is very similar to the corrupt

Hollywood society found in The Last Tycoon. Again in The Last Tycoon the
protagonist is catapulted into a corrupt society that is unfamiliar to him. The
protagonist Stahr, has entered into a deviant society saturated with characters
full of lust, greed, and capitalism. The narrator depicts the valueless society
and what it can do to decent people when describing the character Reinmund. The
narrator says: Reinmund was a handsome young opportunist, with a fairly good
education. Originally a man of some character, he was being forced daily by his
anomalous position into devious ways of acting and thinking. He was a bad man
now, as men go. At thirty he had none of the virtues which either gentile

Americans or Jews are taught to think admirable. (46) Reindmund is
representative of many of the people living in Hollywood. Therefore the above
quote proves Stahr did in fact enter into a society lacking virtue. The moral
decay of this society can also be seen through the characters Cecilia Brady, and
her father, Pat Brady. Cecilia Brady is a character of very little moral value.

She lusts after Stahr and throws herself at him while he is involved with the
woman of his dreams, Thalia. Her father Pat Brady is an equally immoral
character. An example of this behavior can be seen when he attempts to steal the
production business from his partner. He tries to achieve this when Stahr (his
business partner) is extremely ill in New York. Not only is Brady a shady
businessman he also a capitalist participating in the immoral act of degrading
the art of film-making to increase profits. Writer R. A. Gallo, makes a similar
observation about Hollywood’s cultural wasteland as she writes: In The Last

Tycoon Fitzgerald examines his conception of the contemporary wasteland. The
deprivation of