Analysis of Fitzgerald Essay: the Crack-Up

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“A  Process  of  Breaking  Down” Julia  Greenburger 1/9/13 The  Crack  up,  an  essay  by  F.  Scott  Fitzgerald,  is  an  elaborate  description  and  analysis  of the  mental  break  down  the  author  experienced  and  the  depths  of  its  causes.  After  a  life  of struggling  to  succeed  and  failing  multiple  times,  he  suddenly  reconsiders  why  he  needs  to succeed  at  all  and  whether  it  is  what  he  really  wants.  Fitzgerald’s  breaking  down  was  a  process of  losing  all  of  his  values  by  realizing  that  things,  people  and  all  aspects  of  life  that  he  once adored  were  adopted  from  others.  In  his  newfound  perspective  these  things  held  no  true  value for  him.  Finally,  he  no  longer  loved  anything  so  he  had  no  obligation  to  pretend  he  did,  translating into  a  cold-­hearted  man  who  was  not  to  do  anything  if  not  for  himself. Fitzgerald,  after  a  few  pages  of  mystery,  describes  the  cause  of  his  mental  illness  as  a lack  of  self,  in  which  he  has  no  original  concepts  of  success.  He’d  been  bound  to  social expectations  such  as  “how  to  do,  what  to  say”  (7)  which  didn’t  directly  profit  him  yet  he  struggled so  tirelessly  to  achieve.  He  underwent  these  struggles  and  social  norms  in  order  to  achieve “another  man(‘s)...sense  of  the  ‘good  life’”.  (6)  These  superficial  goals  were  impossible  for  him  to accomplish,  though  he  was  determined  to  do  so,  therefore  they  broke  him  down.  Once  he noticed  that  he’d  put  so  much  work  toward  such  adopted  “needs”,  “there  was  not  an  ‘I’  anymore -­-­  not  a  basis  on  which  I  could  organize  my  self-­respect  -­-­  save  my  limitless  capacity  for  toil  that it  seemed  I  possessed  no  more.”  (7)  He  was  left  without  notions  he  could  believe  he’d  created himself.  The  only  thing  he  had  left  to  hold  onto  of  himself  was  his...
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