The Beautiful and Damned


F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Beautiful and Damned Themes

Themes and Colors
Wealth and Waste Theme Icon
Dreams and Reality Theme Icon
Immaturity and Wisdom Theme Icon
Beauty and Self-Sabotage Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Beautiful and Damned, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Wealth and Waste

In The Beautiful and Damned, Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert fall victim to their wealth. Born into a social class that promises unconditional financial security and the leisure to pursue fruitless projects, they conduct their lives with the expectation that their poor work ethic and imprudent financial decisions won’t cost them wealth, respect, or happiness. However, when Anthony’s disinheritance by his grandfather, Adam Patch, robs the couple of their financial security, they find…

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Dreams and Reality

The America Fitzgerald depicts in The Beautiful and Damned is obsessed with the dream of becoming wealthy. Those who are already wealthy dream of becoming wealthier, to the point of each standing out as the single millionaire tycoon in the crowd. Fitzgerald is uneasy about the way the wealthy, who have never had to work for anything, can so easily misread the possibility of greatness as the promise of greatness. Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert

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Immaturity and Wisdom

It is not until after Anthony Patch has reached financial ruin, cheated on his wife, and turned to alcoholism that he begins to understand the consequences of his irresponsible decision-making as a young man. By this time, he can no longer decide to save his money, remain a faithful husband, or drink responsibly, because the damage is already done. Similarly, Gloria Gilbert’s naïve youth, which she already mourns at the young age of 22…

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Beauty and Self-Sabotage

As the title “The Beautiful and Damned” suggests, Fitzgerald takes a skeptical view of beauty. His critique of beauty follows the conventions of nineteenth-century realist authors, such as George Eliot and Gustave Flaubert, who criticized beauty for distracting from more important societal issues, like poverty. Published in 1922, The Beautiful and Damned integrates the realists’ unease about beauty into a depiction of twentieth-century American high society. The socialites at the story’s center become so preoccupied…

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