Analyzing Fitzgerald's Short Story 'A New Leaf'

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Kwizera 1 Esperance Kwizera English 102 Cynthia Leavelle September 12, 2014 “A New Leaf” Although people wish to bring change into their lives, it often does not work out for them due to the fact that they are strongly bound to their past more than their present or future. In Fitzgerald’s short story “A New Leaf”, he uses alcoholism, infidelity, and wealth of the main character to prove the point that the past is his antagonist, “The fact remains he’s not received anywhere-not for one reason but for a thousand”, “Drink, women, jails, scandals, killed somebody with an automobile, lazy, worthless…”(8th Ed. 440). The protagonist has been drinking for a long time to the point that he was addicted until alcohol was controlling his…show more content…
When a girl falls for him, she does not care about what people tell her, after Phil had warned her about her crush that he has been dealing with all women she responds in a careless way, “There’s me”.(8th Ed.441). She thinks she can help him change once they are together, “ Tell me why you drink so much. Probably some obscure reason you don’t know yourself.”(8thEd.443) This was an opportunity for him to fix his flaws but his personality does not allow him. The girl is pretty and intelligent “There was Julia, who was a little too good for anybody and sometimes regretted that she had been quite so well endowed.”(8th Ed. 441). Julia believed in Dick to the point that she thought they would be engaged soon, and she leaves him by himself so that he can prove his responsibility, but he fails, he cheats on her, “After you went to California I was lonesome and I ran into her. She’d liked me that day, and for a while we saw quite a bit of each other. Then you came back and I broke it off. It was a little difficult; I hadn’t realized that she was so interested.”(8th Ed. 451). It is clear that Dick wants to settle down with this one girl that he claims to love, “I only love you, Julia.”(8th Ed. 451), but his personality goes against him he is just into women no matter who she is. Dick wants to fix his love life…show more content…
The author uses situational irony to bring about the effect of wealth on Dick’s life. The reader may expect Dick to be very educated, organized and accomplished because he has an immense sum of money, but the money turns out to be his protagonist, he started drinking so much after he got the money and then he went on with the murder reputation, some guy that was interested in having his money accused him of killing a person as Constantakis states in her overview on “A New Leaf”. Also getting the wealthy lead him to alcoholism that later got him to death when he went off to the sea (Zeuli). The author of this short story portrayed this symbolically by the protagonist’s last name “Ragland” which symbolizes how he went from popularity to rags

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