The Beautiful and Damned Assignment
Below is a list of questions based upon F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Beautiful and Damned. There are three books in the novel and each book has three chapters. I’m posing one question from each chapter, but you are not required to answer all nine questions. Choose only one question from each Book and answer. To be clear, you are only answering three questions in total, but one question must come from each Book.
Each response needs to be a minimum of 1/2 page in length.
Each response needs textual support (i.e. at least one direct quote from the novel— and don’t just use the quotes I use in the questions). Your own opinion alone will not suffice for credit for these questions. If you fail to have textual support for you answers, you will receive no credit.
The bare-minimum effort will earn you the bare minimum grade.
I am looking to see that you artfully and intelligently engage with the text when you answer the questions.
Be sure to perform in-text citation (like I do in the questions below) when you use any quotes.
Any numbers in the parentheses are the page numbers where you’ll find the scene-in-question if you’re using the 2005 Barnes & Noble Classics edition of the story (ISBN: 978-1-59308-245-1).
Each question is worth 50 points.
If you read some of these questions before you read the actual chapters, it may spoil some of the details of the story. Some of you may like that since the questions may give you some knowledge on what to expect and/or look for. Some of you, however, may not want to know what happens before you read the novel (like me). If you are in the latter category, I am simply giving you a spoiler alert here. Thus, read the novel first, then come back and read the questions for the individual Book and chapters. That way the questions don’t spoil any of the story for you.
1. Chapter I: “Anthony Patch”
This chapter gives us the exposition and with it a picture of the protagonist, Anthony Patch. While Anthony may be “looked upon [by his senior class at Harvard] as a rather romantic figure, a scholar, a recluse, [and] a tower of erudition,” there is much more to him than what society sees of him (11). What do the quiet moments, like his “reproachless apartment,” an afternoon spent peeping on “a girl in a red neglige,” and any other scenes you find important tell us about him (12-19)?
2. Chapter II: “Portrait of a Siren”
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were beautiful but dangerous creatures whose ethereal voices enchanted sailors so they would shipwreck upon the rocks of the Sirens’ remote islands. In Fitzgerald’s novel, the main Siren is clearly Gloria Gilbert, and much of this chapter is a portrait of her. The men in the novel say things about her like “she didn’t have a brain in her head” but still she was “pretty good”— whatever that means (43). The real question, however, is this: what is the relationship between men and women in this novel thus far, what effect do they have upon each other, and why?
3. Chapter III: “The Connoisseur of Kisses”
In this chapter we are introduced to the Chevalier O’Keefe, a “creature of [Anthony Patch’s] splendid mind” (75). The story Anthony spins of the Chevalier is short, taking only a few pages to tell, but its weight is much greater than its length. What is the significance of the story of the Chevalier, and what are we to learn about Anthony and/or others from it?
4. Chapter I: “The Radiant Hour”
This book quickly charts the engagement, wedding, and honeymoon of Anthony and Gloria. Once their honeymoon in California ends, they begin to make their way back to New York, but before they make their return to the city, the subsection “Gloria and General Lee” tells us that “on their way back East they stopped two days in Washington…” (136). It’s here that we get a revealing monologue from Gloria about the nature of “old things” (137). What does Gloria’s speech to Anthony reveal about either her, her relationship with Anthony, and/or the popularly held views of youth in the 1920s?
5. Chapter II: “Symposium”
A symposium, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is 1) “a convivial party (as after a banquet in Ancient Greece) with music and conversation”; 2) “a social gathering at which there is a free exchange of ideas”; 3) “a formal meeting at which several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic”; and/or 4) “a collection of opinions on a subject.” Needless to say, “symposium” is an apt name for this chapter since we have yet another “convivial party,” and it’s a party where a “short address on a topic” is delivered. The “short address” in this chapter comes from Maury Noble in the form of “the story of [his] education” (204). Maury, who sits upon “the roof of the shed,” delivers his symposium on everything from “beauty,” “passion,” “experience,” “intelligence,” “circumstances,” and more (205-208). What does Noble’s symposium reveal about either Fitzgerald or his characters in this novel?
6. Chapter III: “The Broken Lute”
In this chapter, we see quite a few relationships dramatically change: Anthony and Adam Patch have a falling out; Anthony and Gloria Patch have marital troubles; and both Anthony and Gloria Patch develop negative feelings for the little grey house they call home. The most important relationship shift, however, is clearly between Anthony and Gloria. For Gloria, she now “hate[s] Anthony,” and for Anthony, he is now “capable of utter indifference toward” Gloria (224). The question, though, is why— why have “things had been slipping perceptibly” between the Patch pair (225)?
7. Chapter I: “A Matter of Civilization”
World War I has begun, and Anthony Patch enlists in the US Army. While stationed in the American South, Anthony meets Dorthy “Dot” Raycroft, a 19-year-old girl with a questionable reputation, and the two quickly begin an affair. Dot is a much different girl than Gloria, but what is it exactly that seems to attract Anthony to her?
8. Chapter II: “A Matter of Aesthetics”
This chapter shows the reader what Gloria has been doing in New York while Anthony was down South with the Army, having an affair with Dot. Gloria had mostly been alone, but she does spend a few nights on the town with Rachel and a few other military servicemen. One near-romantic night with Tudor Baird, “an ancient flame” who was now with the “Aviation Corps,” Gloria begins to feel oddly sorry for Tudor (298). It’s in that sentimentality Gloria kisses Tudor “because he was so charming, a relic of a vanishing generation which lived a priggish and graceful illusion and was being replaced by gallant fools” (298). This line: “a vanishing generation which lived a priggish and graceful illusion and was being replaced by gallant fools” gives us insight into not only Gloria’s worldview but Fitzgerald’s as well. What exactly, then, is “vanishing” for Gloria, and why is it being replaced by “fools”?
9. Chapter III: “No Matter!”
The four and a half year lawsuit for Adam Patch’s money has finally came to an end (355). Gloria and Anthony are awarded some “thirty millions” (360)! The news of the financial victory, however, was not received by Anthony as Gloria anticipated. Instead, Anthony sits “like a pert child” upon the floor of his apartment playing with his old stamp collection (360). Why does Anthony at the end of the novel act in the manner in which he does?
Your responses need to be typed in MLA formatting (no Works Cited page is required).
Cut-and-paste the three question with its title into your document, embolden the question and title, and then type your answer directly below the question (which will not be emboldened).
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