|USFDC Home | USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations||| RSS|
This item is only available as the following downloads:
Pleasant Episodes of Gastronomy: Food and Drink in F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Beautiful and Damned by Melissa Faith Dullaghan A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of English College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Phil lip Sipiora, Ph.D. Michael Clune, Ph.D. Victor Peppard, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 8, 2008 Keywords: food, drink, corporeal, dining, gastronomy Copyright 2008 Melissa Faith Dullaghan
Dedication I dedicate this work to the people who encouraged and stood by me through thick and thin during the various stages of my academic career: the Inverness Dullaghans, the Tiltons, the New York Dullaghans, Suzanne Desmond, Nancy Fletcher, and the Allingsparticularly, and most sincerely, my best friend and kindred companionSean.
Acknowledgements I would like to thank Drs. Phillip Sipiora, Victor Peppard, Michael Clune, Elizabeth Metzger, Rick Wilber, Sara Deats, Regina Hewitt, Elizabeth Hirsh, and Rita Ciresi for their scholarly and professional mentoring; Virginia Zsurka, Lee Davidson, and Daniel Kanouff for always making me feel welcome in the English department; the employees of the City of Inverness; and the Tully and Beggs families for believing that I could do it.
Table of Contents Abstract..............................................................................................................................iii Chapter OneIntroduction.................................................................................................1 Critical Consideration of The Beautiful and Damned..............................................1 Background and Significance of the Study..............................................................2 Overview of the Methodology.................................................................................6 Chapter TwoDining as Pleasant Episode for Anthony Patch.......................................9 Childhood Experiences..........................................................................................10 Affinity for Indulgence..........................................................................................11 Interpersonal Relationships....................................................................................16 Rhetoric of Food Choices......................................................................................23 Conclusions about Anthony Patch.........................................................................24 Chapter ThreeDining as Conspicuous Consumption for Gloria Patch.......................26 Childhood Experiences..........................................................................................27 Affinity for Control................................................................................................27 Interpersonal Relationships....................................................................................29 Rhetoric of Food Choices......................................................................................32 Conclusions about Gloria Patch.............................................................................34 Chapter FourConclusion................................................................................................36 Merits of the Food and Drink Motif......................................................................36 Concessions............................................................................................................37 i
Tension as a Result of Different Gastronomical Approaches................................38 References..........................................................................................................................41 ii
Pleasant Episodes of Gastronomy: Food and Drink in F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Beautiful and Damned Melissa Faith Dullaghan ABSTRACT This thesis explores the motif of gastronomy in Fitzgeralds critically undertreated second novel, The Beautiful and Damned. Within the discussion of the leisure class, Fitzgerald scholars often focus on Jay Gatsbys parties, but they seem to neglect Anthony Patch and companys fancy for food and drink in Ivy League supper clubs of Manhattan, vaudeville theaters, and houses of languor in Upstate New York. Building upon George J. Searless article The Symbolic Function of Food and Eating in F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Beautiful and Damned, this thesis examines the meaning of Fitzgeralds pervasive prandial allusions and character psychology with regard to dining. Whereas Searles posits that Fitzgerald employed depictions of food and eating as symbols of his characters shallowness and frivolity (14), this thesis explores the possibility that Anthony Patch craves pleasant episodes of dining and specific culinary combinations because he interprets them as the essence of social ritual and corporeal comfort. Because many critics hold that The Beautiful and Damned lacks coherence and sputters as a pre-Gatsby creation, this thesis suggests that the novel can be read as Anthonys quest to assert and cling to his own brand of decadence, which is tragically distinct from that of his wife Glorias. iii
1 CHAPTER ONEIntroduction Critical Consideration of The Beautiful and Damned In past decades, when readers regarded th e works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, they read The Great Gatsby Fitzgeralds third novel continues to be heralded by academics as the authors magnum opus Critical appreciation for Fitzgeralds second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, was scant because scholars considered the work a preGatsby exercise in which Fitzgerald merely developed his themes and character types. Mysteriously, critics victimize The Beautiful and Damned : [b]ecause they are not Gatsby they are failures (Hook 18-19). However, in his 1980 ar ticle for the Fitzgerald issue of Twentieth Century Literature Jackson R. Bryer trumpeted for attention to Fitzgeralds preGatsby novels, which had been criticized for the excesses, the romantic extravagance, the sometimes failed lyricism, the name-dropping and intelle ctual pretentiousness (Hook 23). Bryer encouraged scholarship which would empl oy innovative methodologies, such as short passage explications, in add ition to the tracing of image patterns throughout the novels (Best and Brightest 263). Fitzgerald scholars began to recognize The Beautiful and Damned and in 1989, Andrew Hook highlighted the fact that Fitzgerald himself conceptualized of each of hi s novels differently (19). Hook cites a 1933 letter to John Peale Bishop in which Fitzgerald explains that This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby were selective; The Beautiful and Damned and Tender is the Night were full and comprehensive (19). In the final anal ysis, Hook blames critics for establishing a
2 critical tradition of condescension while simult aneously touting Fitzgerald as one of the most successful modern American writers (20). In light of this scholarship, which repres ents just a sampling of what Bryer has called the Fitzgerald Revival, and the foundi ng of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society and F. Scott Fitzgerald Review in 2000, many significant Fitzgerald scholars ha ve reconciled The Beautiful and Damned (as well as This Side of Paradise) with the Fitzgerald canon. As Hilary K. Justice and Robert W. Trogdon observed in their 2005 Fitzgerald and Hemingway bibliography for American Literary Scholarship scholars seem to have shrugged off the hint of defensiveness [for th ese novels] that has characterized even the best [critical] work in the last several years (202). It is an exciting time to be part of such inquiry because scholars are liberating themselves from the misconception that early Fitzgerald works lack artistic merit and, as a result, encourage studi es of the relatively neglected works (Prigozy, Br yer, & Margolies xi). Background and Significance of the Study The particular criticism that I would like to address, along with Hook, comes from a pre-Fitzgerald Revival assessment of The Beautiful and Damned by Bryer. In his 1978 Fitzgerald chapter for American Literary Scholarship Bryer comments that the style of the novel is strangely sprawling. When compared with the 180 pages of Gatsby 1 then, certainly, the 449 pages of The Beautiful and Damned 2 would seem sprawling; furthermore, Fitzgerald himself lamented th at he had devoted so much more careto the detail of the book than to thinking out the general scheme (Hook 19). But with 1 Scribner Trade Paperback Edition 2004. 2 First Scribner Paperback Fiction Edition 1995.
3 Hook, I argue that this extensiv e detail is not detrimental; on the contrary, I believe that one of the greatest strengths of the novel lies precisely in its dense accumulation and weight of detail (19). What Bryer deemed a sprawling prose style seems to mirror the sprawling decadence of Anthony and Gloria Patch, whose goal it is to join the loafing legions of the leisure class. I suggest that one particular category of detail emerges, and that this detail is so integral to the ch aracterization in the noveland aesthetically pleasing for that matterthat it me rits this entire study: gast ronomy, or, the art of dining. Fitzgerald can be categorized as one of the writers whom Margaret Atwood (and I) cherishes as most enjoyable: those that mention food, indeed revel in it (CanLit Foodbook 51). In her essay for Literary Gastronomy Atwood discusses how readers make connections with food and literature as a result of romantic settings (51). As a young girl reading Ivanhoe Atwood wondered of the tower-imprisoned Rebecca: but what did she have to eat ? (51). Other writers who notably feed their characters include Nikolai Gogol, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf, to name a few. James P. Gilroy provides a particularly useful analysis of ga stronomy in Proust, which I will discuss in this study of The Beautiful and Damned because, like Anthony Patch, the narrator of temps recherch du perdu appreciates the ritual of dini ng and its accompanying sensory delights. This narrator basks in what Karl Wilhelmi terms the comestible transaction (Eater Response 81). Besides foregrounding Fitzgeralds ma stery of description and literary synesthesia, there are two reasons why an exploration of Anthony Patchs pursuit of pleasant episodes of gastronomy would benef it the revival of Fitzgerald studies: 1) dining scenes involve rhetori cal choices, which can provide explanations of character
4 psychology, and therefore, lead to more well -rounded characters; and 2) dining scenes provide aesthetic pleasure for the reader becau se they depict an ac tivity that potentially engages and delights all five senses. What characters eat and drink, as well as how, when, and with whom they dine reflects their instinctual behavior and provides the reader with a more satisfying reading experience. Because of the critical tradition surrounding The Beautiful and Damned a limited variety of scholarship exists, and it is even more difficult for the researcher to find scholarly sources that deal w ith food and drink in U.S. Am erican literature, let alone Fitzgeralds works. However, Norman Kiells Food and Drink in Literature: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography directed me to George J. Searless article The Symbolic Function of Food and Eating in F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Beautiful and Damned . At the time of this study, an advanced search in the MLA International Bibliography confirms that Searless article is th e only one to address gastronomy in the works of Fitzgerald, let alone The Beautiful and Damned This article, along with Hooks will serve as the spri ngboards for my study. Many of Searless gastronomical interpretations stand to reason, such as his theories that prandia l allusionsserve to underscore the characters ineffectuality and f oolishness (14), and that by the conclusion of the novel, references to food and drink are cast negatively; how ever, his article is briefa mere six pages. Because the gastronomy motif pervades so much of The Beautiful and Damned I believe that it warrants deeper consideration. Gastronomical references abound in the novel because Fitzgerald understands the sensuous power of writing refreshment, and th at it is integral to an illustration of decadence. The frequency and richness of F itzgeralds prandial allusionsthe novel
5 contains more than 420 references to f ood, drink, and diningdemonstrates that for Anthony and Gloria, dining is a social ritual James L. W. West III notes that the ceremonies of preparation, procurement, consump tion, and inebriation are charted with great exactitude (Question of Vocation 55, ita lics mine). That West, writing a higherorder essay for The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald devotes time to mention the food references testifies to the importance of such charting. He too interprets that dining represents a ceremony or ritual, as I have called it he re. These prandial allusions range from brief mentions of tea times, luncheons, and bar stops, to specific descriptions of food and drink combinations. Fitzgerald also incorporates the use of prandial figurative language, as well as character and place names: Richard Caramel, the town of Rye ( B & D 173), a man named Barley (181). It seems clear that gastronomy is assi gned a central function (Searles 14): the narrator consistently alludes to specific foods, drinks, meal preparation techniques, and attaches these allusions to certain characters, moods, and times of day. For example, Bounds is assigned to stocking a ready suppl y of sandwiches and the preparation of breakfast, Anthony to comfort foods and dinner time, and Gloria to lighter fare and tea time or luncheon. Food and drinks carry sp ecific social connotations and sensory possibilities, and therefore, are rife for the rhetorical possibility of personalization. Readers can safely interpret food and drink as doing symbolic double duty. Gastronomic references describe cravings and pastimes of the leisure class, but they also present rhetorical statements; Gloria wishes to medi ate her social interac tion and Anthony wishes to indulge in his.
6 I suggest that gastronomical references re present more than ju st aesthetic garnish to Fitzgeralds prose, but that the cataloguing of Anthony and Glorias food choices and dining episodes to excess (S tavola 114) contributes to th e depiction of decadence, provides insight into the psychological compos itions of their charac ters, and contributes to the coherence and aestheticism of the novel. Overview of the Methodology Of the four articles written about The Beautiful and Damned that Bryer mentions in 1980, Vandover and the Brute and The Beautiful and Damned : A Search for Thematic and Stylistic Reinterpretations by Richard Astro was the only one to avoid treating the novel predominantly biographically. I would like to follow that lead in this thesis, and help guide Fitzgerald studies to a return to formalist appreciation for Fitzgeralds texts and avoid correlation of Anthony and Gloria Patch to Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. For this, I will at tempt to be a good mock reader in the New Critic style, to deal only with the text itself and the characters on the fictiv e plane where they reside. I will freeze-frame scenes which offer particular ly descriptive or pervasive food and drink references, and then examine the rhetoric of character menu selections and dining conditions. The chapters most punctuated by prandial references are Symposium with 83 references, Portrait of a Siren with 45, and No Matter! with 62. I believe that an examination of scenes from these chapters will provide a springboa rd for investigating the characters Anthony and Gloria Patch. I will focus on what Bryer deems the most encouraging critical approaches: 1) explication of short passages in search of symbols; and 2) at tention to issues of style.
7 Bryer applauds F. H. Langman and followe rs for their observation that we read Gatsby for the sake of its distinctiv e voice, or voices, for the way it puts things, at least as much as for the significance of the episodes it recounts (264). So my aims will be to establish the importance of gastronomical episodes with relation to Anthony and Gloria Patch, and to highlight the style with which these ep isodes are recounted, namely, the sensory way in which Fitzgerald describes food and drink. What is equally notable about the prevalence of prandial references in the novel is the way in which they are delivered: via Fitzgeralds luxuriant brand of literary synesthesia, which readers glimpsed especia lly powerfully in The Diamond as Big as the Ritz. Scholars are no doubt familiar w ith Fitzgeralds reflection on the storys background: I was in a mood characterized by a perfect craving for luxury, and the story began as an attempt to feed that craving on imaginary foods (Bruccoli 182). These references appeal to readers because they enga ge all five senses. Due to the constraints of length placed on this study, I will not exam ine Fitzgeralds pra ndial synesthesia in detail. However, I am indebted to Sarah Caroline Harman-Plowdens dissertation, which expertly demonstrates how Fitzgeralds synesthetic blending symbolizes Anthonys compulsion for blending the corporeal and th e psychological (Fitzge rald and Literary Synesthesia 87-88). I hope to make apparent that what motiv ates Anthony to seek pleasant episodes of gastronomy ( B & D 197) are his compulsions for the corporeal and his desire for intimacy. He welcomes the comfort and companionship that accompanies these episodes, whereas Gloria simply tolerates th e formality of dining because it satisfies the
8 prerequisite of conspicuous consumption, which Ray Canterbery suggests is prescribed for them by the leisure class (Da mned Thorstein Veblen 113). The chapter Symposium contains the most potent descriptions and pivotal scene in terms of plot development and theme. In an explication of this pivotal scene, I argue that Anthony finally builds enough strength to confront Glorias lackadaisical attitude toward his cherished ritual; whereas Gloria and readers may interpret Anthonys behavior in this scene as violent, it also demonstrat es Anthonys desperate en treaty that his wife commune with him on his most sensual level. For this reason, the pivotal scene heralds one of the most tragic points in the novel. It signals the de stitute and divergent paths that the lovers take as a result of their unbending wills.
9 CHAPTER TWODining as Pleasant Episode for Anthony Patch In this chapter, I will examine the de piction of Anthony Patch from childhood into adulthood in order to establish his depende nce on the corporeal and the pursuit of gastronomic episodes. I argue that what begins for Anthony in childhood as dependence on pleasant sensory perceptions transitions into an affinity for decadence, and deteriorates into alcohol addiction. This process can be observed in Anthonys childhood experiences with adults, identity formation while at tending Harvard, his soci al behavior after graduating, and his romantic interests with three particular women. Additionally, I will consider particular scenes centered around food and drink in orde r to highlight the aesthetic value of Fitzgeralds literary gastronomy and the rh etoric of particular food and drink choices made by Anthony and his acquain tances. From these considerations, I conclude that Anthony delights in the come stible transaction (Wilhelmi 81); he respects and longs for pleasant episodes (B & D 197) of gastronomy.
10 Childhood Experiences From the family history presented in B ook One, Chapter I, the reader observes that Anthony suffers abbrevia ted and less than desirable re lationships with adults at formative stages in his development. Left alone in his nurseryto catch only nebulous and musical glimpses of his mother ( B & D 6), and tentative, thick-smelling hours with his father (6)Anthony does not experi ence closeness and guidance from adults, only vague sensory impressions. By age el even, Anthony experiences the death of his mother, and, while abroad in Switzerland, witnesses the sweating, and grunting and crying aloud for air at the death of his father (6). Taken in by his grandfather, Adam J. Cross Patch, whose strident sense of di scipline overwhelms him, Anthony remains wedded to a vague melancholy that was to stay beside him through the rest of his life (5). Anthony comes to depend on positive sensory perceptions and corporeal indulgence as reactions to the impending strugg le against death (7)he reads in bed, sleeps with the lights on, and untiringly mu s[es] on the variety and color of his stamp collection (7). In his evaluation of An thony during this stage, John B. Chambers confirms this assertion, stating th at [f]rom the very beginning of The Beautiful and Damned Fitzgerald makes clear that Anthony is profoundly affected by beauty (72). Furthermore, Chambers suggests that Anthonys adherence to the s uperficially attractive suggest[s] that the true meaning of all the ac tion is to be found in the moral perspective which sees that beauty and evil are insepara bly linked (73). So for Chambers, when Anthony retreats into sensory fantasy, such as his stamp collection, or as an adult, the luxurious fluffiness of his bath mat, it repres ents how an individuals evaluative sense is
11 progressively worsened (73). In other wo rds, Chambers foresees problems for the individual who operates on this sensory plane. Leonard A. Podis might agree with Ch ambers, however, he does not fault Anthony for adopting such sensory dependence. Despite the fact that Anthony falls under the ostensibly solid moral influence of his grandfather, Podis reads Anthony as a moral orphan because Cross Patchs l aughable sententiousness and over-zealous chauvinism tend to encourage Anthonys carpe diem lifestyle, not temper it (144). In similar fashion, Anthonys European tutor, th e only other adult influence that emerges during the formative years, absent-mindedl y steers Anthony when the time comes for Anthony to attend college: he convinces Antho ny that Harvard was the thing (7), that it would provide a tremendous tonic for him, intellectually and socially. The word tonic fittingly introduces the notion that Anthony will find corporeal refreshment via sophisticated social engagements. Affinity for Indulgence As a result of Anthonys moral orphanhood and dependence on corporeal indulgence, he develops a sense of superiority, which he expresses in terms of gastronomy. For example, Anthony never develops respect for women or people he whom he perceives to be inferior. With Maury, he perceives that the best women are simpletons, and he expresses his low opinion of them in terms of sweetness. Rose Adrienne Gallo suggests that Anthony condescends to his artist friend Dick Caramel in similar fashion; he condenses Dick and his artistry to something pa latable to the public tastea bon-bon, a caramel (By Disaster Touched 31). Anthony associates Glorias
12 mother with sweetness because her perceives her as religiously fanatic and personally ineffectual: Mrs. Gilberts voi ce, soft as maple syrup running into a glass container had for him a quality of horror in its single Hello-o-ah? ( B & D 124). Anthony describes couples seated in the Marathon cabaret in th is manner as well; he complains of the women marrying above their opportunities, the men striking suddenly a magnificent opulence: a sufficiently prepos terous advertising scheme: a celestialized ice cream cone (71). I believe that my hypothesis regarding Anthonys compulsion for food and drink as social ritual aligns seamlessly with Thomas J. Stavolas psychoanalysis of the protagonist: that Anthony fails to resolve his primary crisis of basic trust, the foundation of identity, and as a result, exhi bits adult manifestations of orality and nostalgia ( Beautiful and Damned : Anthony Patch 111). Because his formative experiences with adults ar e sparse and comic (110), Anthony learns no moral code through which he might interpret that life hol ds meaning. His experience has been to evade the horror of life, to su rvive in luxury for as long as he can. This comfort most often consists of his conversing ( B & D 20), eating (197), drinking quietly and in the proper tradition (8), lighting cigarettes in solitude (18 & 88), and kissing (92 & 112). Stavola also asserts th at Anthonys moral foundation results in Anthonys characteristically passive manner of interacting with the world ( Beautiful and Damned : Anthony Patch 111). Stavola convinces that [w]hat he actually longs for is an identity which will heal his divided se lf (113). Where I exit from Stavolas assessment, however, is in his assertion that Anthonys losing process of indulgence is described by Fitzgerald to excess (114). Contrarily, I believe that the gastronomic
13 minutiae provide readers with time and space en ough to bask in the luxuries and fantasy along with the characters as they wish for a satisfactory denouement to the Patch story. Apart from seeking luxuries, one of the main considerations in the novel deals with Anthonys vocation, or as James L. W. West III suggests, the lack thereof. West offers insight regarding why Anthony might seek out leisure in lieu of a vocation: the futility of effort (Question of Vocation 54 ). West explains that the only vocation available to Anthony as a result of his colleg e training is writing, but that that profession fails to offer membership, an apprentice system or financial security (54). Anthony also attempts, and fails, to work as a financial cl erk, soldier, and salesman. Interpreting the novel through the lens of Fitz geralds American moralism, West concludes that without vocation, Anthonys life lacks direction and consequence (56). But in his innovative assessment, Stavola counters Wests position; he argues that Anthonys life is far from being directionless. He dear ly wants, as a sign of success and identity, what American society offers and his grandfather possesses, a huge accumulation of money (116). Most critics, especially West, inte rpret Anthonys lack of vocation to be his downfall. But here, Stavola diverges with th at assertion in a way that pr ovides a sympathetic view of Anthony. This interpretation offers the view of Anthony that I am inclined to support: that his vague melancholy exists because he aches for community and a strong identity. Ironically, Stavola describes Anthonys funda mental pattern of motivation as an extreme hunger for a lost paradise of symbiotic fusion (117, emphasis mine). Karl Wilhelmi and James P. Gilroy offer the clearest approaches for linking gastronomy with Anthonys penchant for corpor eal indulgence. Wilhelmi discusses what he calls the comestible transaction of Eater Response Theory, which posits that eaters
14 can approach food in two ways: objectiv ely, according to a codeand therefore practically; or subjec tively, open to personal interpreta tionand therefore sensually (812). To illustrate his point, Wilhelmi cites an example of two comestible transactions involving two men eating croissan ts: both croissants are warm flaky, and slathered with butter and jam; however, the first man eats his in the car on the way to his night job, while the second man partakes of his in a pe nthouse restaurant, surrounded by fine china and beautiful people (80). Who enjoys th eir croissant more? The man who treasures every last morsel of his occasional treat, or the man of privilege, who cannot finish his because he is full from the filet mignon? Wilhelmi also alludes to the work of Louise Raisenbran, who differentiates between efferent eating for nourishment and aesthetic eating to recreate an emotional experience (81). If we pair Anthonys dining passages from the novel with Podiss concept of Anthonys moral orphanhood and St avolas suggestion of Anthonys orality and nostalgia, Anthony clearly emerges as an aesthetic eater. Basic foods such as soup and sandwiches are his dietary staples because they provide positive emotions. Whereas Wilhelmis Eater Response Theory offers the comestible transaction as a means for engaging with Fitzgeralds writing, Gilroy presents a more poetic interpretation of characters w hose perceptions engulf them in the metaphysical beauty of their surroundings. His discussion of Prousts narrator in la recherch du temps perdu also provides a method for viewing Anthony in a sympathetic light: that Anthonys deepseated dependence on the corporeal can be viewed as his being perceptive enough to discern the essence of things beyond their external covering (Food, Cooking, Proust 98). For Prousts narrator, brilliant colors of asparagus stalks catapult the mind of the
15 narrator into wonderment a nd humor (98). Gilroy addr esses the irony in such connections and adds that in addition to f oods which evoke the serious and the comic, Prousts narrator likens culinary achievemen ts to artistic ambitions (98). Perhaps Anthony is more complicated than cr itics give him credit for. Gilroy posits that [f]ood is for Proust an important component of the aesthetic domain and can be enjoyed in that regard like painting, music, and literature (99). This assumption helps explain Anthonys predilect ion for pleasant episodes (197) of gastronomy: food is the component of the aesthetic domain in which Anthony takes pleasure; dining is where Anthony spends time w ith others and attempts to carve out an identity, which Stavola argues he is seeking. We also find Anthony partaking in the other aesthetic delightsmusic and art in the bathr oom, literature in college, his weak decision to write a medieval history, and his haught y assessments with Maury Noble regarding Dick Caramels first novel, The Demon Lover But food emerges astonishingly frequently in The Beautiful and Damned, and is the comfort to which Anthony repeatedly retreats. What I would like to highlight most from Gilroys assessment of the Proustian catalog is thatas epitomized in the famous madeleine scene in Combraythe food and drink motif is so vital to the character ization of Anthony because, as Gilroy explains, [t]he senses have a more direct link with th e souls depths than the rational faculties (101). In other words, I suggest that r eaders cannot discover the source of Anthonys psychological composition (or nature of his marital tragedy) unless they engage him through the senses. So rather than approach Anthony as if he were a frustrated loafer, confused about his identity and vocation, pe rhaps the reader should approach him as
16 socially stunted, unable to subordinate his a ffinity for sensory perceptions to a more practical matter of acquiring the me ans by which to enjoy them. Interpersonal Relationships Bounds Additional evidence that th e adult Anthony operates according to his senses and appetites is bound up in th e depiction of Anthonys 52 nd Street apartment. Some of the novels most indulgent imagery appears in The Reproachless Apartment section of Book One, Chapter I. For example, the read er observes a deep lounge of the softest brown leather with somnolence dr ifting about it like a haze ( B & D 10) and a rich ruga miracle of softness, that seemed almo st to massage the wet foot emerging from the tub (11). However, the narrator mentions that the a ppointments of the apartment skirt decadence (10); this intent ional rejection of the term decadent seems to suggest that if these appointments ar e not luxurious, then they are, at the very least, comfortable Anthony has created a haven from which he can shield himself from unpleasantries. We are told that breakfast is the only meal Anthony eats at home, and that it is cooked by his English servant, whose singular ly, almost theatrically, appropriate name is Bounds (12). Bounds also retrieves th e mail and tugs at Anthonys blanket each morning at nine-thirty (12). These details are significant because they demonstrate how Anthony engineers his environment for comfor t and leisure. While it may seem an overstatement, the reader could interpret B ounds as a surrogate father figure, one who provides comfort in the forms of little sandwiche s, and a gradual contact with the outside world via delivery of the mail. Anthony seem s to relish Bounds indenture, because it
17 not only brings him pleasure, but can be dismissed, unlike the trying relationship he maintains with his grandfather. Furthe rmore, we know that Bounds has a likeable English name; Anthony seems to take a sophisticated comfort in the proper European traditionBounds is on schedule, always pr ovides food, and displays mastery of etiquette. We can surmise that Anthonys enti rely satisfactory (10) apartment life sets the precedent for how he would like to arrange his social life : in pursuit of luxury and refreshment on his own terms. Maury Noble Maury Noble emerges as one of Anthonys most frequent dinner companions ( B & D 17) because he achieves the life of le isure that Anthony wants for himself. Assuming Stavolas assessment that Anthonys vocation is to discover his identity and become rich (116), then a passage in Book One, Chapter II, entitled A Ladys Legs confirms that Maury sets the standard. He possesses a surprising a nd relentless maturity of purpose (43): namely, to use three years in travel, three years in utter leisureand then to become immensely rich as quickly as possible (43). Anthony especially admires Maurys self-acquired drinking skills because they reflect his psychological tendency to value decadent sensory percepti ons: that drinking would be the gateway to a wealth of new sensations, new psychic stat es, and new reactions in joy or misery (43). In this passage, moreover, the narrator suggests th at Anthony maintains a simple, child-like excitement over his having discovered Maury home on a Saturday night: His spirits soared faster than the flying elevator. This was so good, so extremely good, to be about to talk to Maurywho would be equally happy at
18 seeing him. They would look at each othe r with a deep affection just behind their eyes which both would conceal beneath so me attenuated raillery. Had it been summer they would have gone out togeth er and indolently sipped two long Tom Collinses, as they wilted their collars a nd watched the faintly diverting round of some lazy August cabaret. But it was cold outsideso better far an evening together under the soft lamplight and a dri nk or two of Bushmills, or a thimbleful of Maurys Grand Marnier, with the books gleaming like ornaments against the walls, and Maury radiating a divine inertia as he rested, large and catlike, in his favorite chair (44). This passage seems to indicate that Ant hony chooses, and delights in, companions who have a penchant for luxury and gastronomical pleasure. Additionally, Anthony extracts a sense of belonging, or more correctly, superi ority over Dick Caramel, Joseph Bloeckman, and any one else he knows (1). George J. Searles argues that Anthonys eating with people he dislikes can be interp reted as a form of self-delu sion (16); I agree with this statement, however, not in the way that Sear les suggests. Rather than testifying to Anthonys being a rather hollow young man (14), I believe that this practice indicates Anthonys fear of loneliness. He uses it in a passive manner. Contrary to Searless opinion that Fitzgerald employe d food and eating to symbolize and indict the decadence of unmerited riches to underscore the charac ters ineffectuality and selfishness (14), I believe he used it in order to give read ers sensual variety and comment on Anthonys desire for interpersonal connection. Anthony does not seem bent on wasting food like the decadent guests at Gatsbys dinner parties; rather, Anthony craves food, favorites which
19 he consistently requests: sandwiches from Bounds, crisp bacon with friends while in drunken stupors, and egg nogs with Dick at the Plaza (33-4). At Harvard, Anthony and Maury drank in th e proper tradition (8), so we can surmise that imbibing is a staple in thei r relationship, the activity over which they commune. They also take the appropriate c ourses at the dinner table, and curb their conversations when food and dr inks arrive; when the soup a rrives, what Maury said was lost for all time (24). Maurys words are lost because, for Anthony, they do not matter. Much more important are the compani onship and communion which accompany the comestibles. Maury detects this penchant for gastronomy in his friend and gives Anthony a drinking set at his wedding to Gloria. Gilroy posits that pleas ure derived from good food can be enhanced by the beauty of the r eceptacle in which it is served (99), and we can assume that such finery will not go unnoticed or unappreciated by Anthony because in pensive moods, Anthony notices things like the gradually diminishing wisp of steam from the coffee cup at his elbow in Childs diner (117). Geraldine Burke This identification with Ma ury carries over into Ant honys assessment of quality female companionship. Just as Anthony fi nds peace for his restless soul in the presence of Maury, in A Ladys Legs, he finds that a stupid woman such as Geraldine Burke provides the same effect ( B & D 45). Geraldine fascinates Anthony because she is company, familiar and faintly intimate (45); she contrasts sharply with Gloria Gilbert. In fact, Anthony chuckles uncontrollably over Maurys description of tea with the tremendously alivenervous yet ete rnally old Gloria (48-51). This scene
20 underscores Anthonys preference for the simp le luxury that a woman like Geraldine provides; we know that stupi d women soothe him, and th at Anthony likes Geraldine because she demanded so little that he like her (86). Anthony easily woos Geraldine with music, an erotic fable about his fi ctitious hero, the Ch evalier OKeefe, and vermouth, gin, and absinthe for a proper stim ulant (86). Moreover, when she becomes too conversant for his liking, Anthony prompt s, My dear Geraldinedo have another cocktail (88). Anthony seems to have an affinity for a specific type of womana sensory companionand I believe that in choosing Gloria as his mate, Anthony compromises his sense of self. Gloria Gilbert-Patch In terms of gastronomy, Anthonys decision to couple with Gloria represents a disastrous compromise of self. Whereas early in the marri age, Anthony and Gloria seem socially on parDick assures Anthony that G lorias darn nicenot a brain in her head ( B & D 35)gastronomically they are incompatible. Thro ughout the novel, Anthony desires that his dining experi ences be pleasant: he grows im patient when Dick runs late for dinner and ceases to talk when the soup arrives in the section entitled Three Men (20). He refuses to take Gloria to a certain tough caf while on their honeymoon (151), and he generously offers to summon the waiter for correction despite Glorias tantrum over having been served a tomato stuffed with chicken salad instead of celery (161-2). This dining scene, part of The Radiant Hour section, is pivotal in terms of gastronomy because it illustrates the differing ways th at Anthony and Gloria approach food and eating. Whereas Anthony desires pleasant company and refreshment, Gloria seems
21 indifferent, preferring to indul ge in her mood over her meal. Anthony tries to assuage his new bride: Well, it isnt the hotels fault. Eith er send it back, forget it, or be a sport and eat it. Shut up! she said succinctly. Why take it out on me? Oh, Im not , she wailed, but I simply cant eat it. Anthony subsided helplessly. Well go somewhere else, he suggested. I dont want to go anywhere else. Im tired of being trotted around to a dozen cafes and not getting one thing fit to eat. When did we go around to a dozen cafes? Youd have to in this town, insisted Gloria with ready sophistry. Anthony, bewildered, tried another track. Why dont you try to eat it? It can t be as bad as you think. JustbecauseIdontlikechicken! She picked up her fork and began p oking contemptuously at the tomato, and Anthony expected her to begin fli nging the stuffings in all directions (162). But Gloria does not fling the food; to Ant honys surprise, she eats it. Here the reader might clearly observe what baffled, irritate d, and depressed (163) Anthony in terms of Glorias finicky eating habits. The ritual of dining, which pleases and comforts Anthony most, sustains a blow from the fist of An thonys most intimate companion. This scene
22 also foreshadows the pivotal scene in Symposium wherein Gloria indulges in another, more catastrophic tantrum. The reason for the Patches gastronomic in compatibility can also be explained in terms of Wilhelmis notion of the comestible transaction ( 81). Despite the fact that Wilhelmi discusses this theory in the c ontext of writing pedagogy, it provides valuable insight for decoding the psychological com positions of Anthony and Gloria. If we compare the croissant scenario with the comes tible transactions of Anthony and Gloria in The Radiant Hour scene, I beli eve that Anthony emerges as the aesthetic eater, or, one who eats in order to recreate an emotiona l experience (81). His moral orphanhood and search for identity provide the motivation for his seeking pleasurable eating experiences; conversely, Glorias indifference to eating sugg ests that she can obtain (and squander) the croissant/attention/male companionship/et c. that she desires simply by throwing a tantrum. Dorothy Raycroft Anthonys other minor love interest is with Dorothy Dot Raycroft during his stint in the army. Whereas Anthony does not enjoy many dining episod es with Dot, this portion of the novel represents Anthonys return to a dependence on corporeal perceptions. The weather-bea ten Anthony experiences a reinvigoration from exercise, routine, and strolls with Dot in the muggi ness of southern evenings: Anthony found himself increasingly glad to be alive. Renewed strangely through his body, he worried little and existed in the present wi th a sort of animal content ( B & D 332). The reader observes this animal existence in some of Anthonys friends at Sammys bar in the No
23 Matter chapter Book Three (415), where An thony retreats from his marital stress and financial decline. Like the simpleton Geraldine, Dot provides the peace which Anthony craves in order to stave off the horrors of life: After all, this was peacethe quiet room with the mingled scent of womens powder and perfume, Dots hand soft as a warm wind upon his hair, the rise and fall of her bosom as she t ook breathas though he were at rest in some sweeter and safer home than he had ever known (349). Anthony continues his dependence on alcohol during his courtship with Dot, and as a result of a drinking binge in the rain, fa lls sick. However, Anthony takes comfort in the ability of his body to overtake his existence: He was aware that his sickness was providential. It saved him fr om a hysterical relapse (352 ). In this portion of the novel, we can detect echoes of the Past a nd Person of the Hero section of Book One, Chapter I, in that Anthony succumbs to hi s nebulous (352) sensory perceptions. Rhetoric of Food and Drink Choices Throughout the novel, Anthony chooses foods that might be described as simple, hearty, wholesome, or rich. Some of thes e foods, such as sandwiches, bacon, and egg, could be called comfort foods. In The Three Men dining scene with Maury and Dick, they have ordered soup, which can signify comf ort, soothing sensations, and the etiquette and prestige of multiple courses. Soup is presented to diners as a way to entice the palate as well as line the stomach in order to help the diner prevent overeating. Sandwiches emerge as Anthonys favorite craving: they are always on hand, courtesy of Bounds ( B & D 215); preferred for alleviating hangovers (52); and nervously
24 munched when he and Gloria are fighting ( 216). When his condition deteriorates so much so that he abandons high-balls for whis kies, he opts to send for sandwiches so that he and his drinking companions might eat in Sammys bar (431). This food not only represents comfort, but it is known by heavy drinkers that bread and heartier foods coat the stomach and in some cases, prevent hangovers. But in addition to being associated with heartiness, the descript ion of sandwiches provides syne sthetic value: sandwiches combine multiple flavors, textures, colors, and temperatures (215, 431). They also represent sophistication according to Maury: A mans social rank is determined by the amount of bread he eats in a sandwich (271). In his study of Fitzgeralds use of the bar setting, Aiping Zhang recognizes how Anthony depends on refreshment to trans cend the unpleasant things in his life ( Enchanted Places 67). Furthermore, Zhang notes th at this scene in Sammys Bar represents the first and perhaps only time throughout the entir e novel that Anthony appears so articulate and so determined in doing something for himself (67), i.e. obtaining drinks in front of his acquaintances. Conclusions about Anthony Patch The gastronomy motif establishes Anthony s dependence on corporeal and edible indulgence. Such dependence suggests a pitif ul desire for satiati on, and the notion that his joy is subject to spoilage because it is comestible. Anthony emerges as an insecure child, one who seeks acceptance and compan ionship in episodes centered around the dining ritual. Anthony alights when the dining ritual is proposed, and is equally deflated
25 when the ritual is postponed, interrupted, ruined, or rejected. Whenever he is uncomfortable, he retreats to gastronomy. From both psychological and gastronomical perspectives, it seems that Anthony would pair best with either a Geraldine or Do t. Both women represent the simpleton type which Anthony and Maury seek for their appr eciation of the finer pleasures of lounging, conversing, and imbibing. They seem to know and accept their roles as subordinate indulgers. Geraldine dislikes the frequency of Anthonys drinking, however, and Dot is too young and irrational to comprehend Anthonys style. From the description of her previous relationships, Dot seems to valu e devotion from her men, something that Anthony is too jaded to provide. Geraldine and Dot emerge as more fitting companions for Anthony because they too seem to opera te according to the socio-corporeal. In one of Anthonys final attempts to secure conventional employment, we can observe his ultimate return to a dependen ce on gastronomy. Attempting to muster the confidence for work in sales, he retreats into a bar for nerve-settling whiskies, and rationalizes that it would be futile to a ttempt solicitation on an empty stomach (385). Anthony needs food for comfort and courage, and what is most remarkable about Anthonys bout with sales are the locations at which he d ecides to solicit: a bar, a grocery store, and a deli ( 385-6). When Anthony can no longer support himself, maintain any level of sobriety, and is dealt the final, tooth-knocking bl ow from his former rival, Joseph Bloeckman, we observe that his di scomfort [becomes] centralized in his stomach (438). He suffers orally and ga stronomically as a re sult of his hopeless dependence on the corporeal.
26 CHAPTER THREEDining as Conspicuous Consumption for Gloria Patch In this chapter I will more briefly ex amine the upbringing, identity formation, and attitudes toward gastronomy of Gloria Patch in order to es tablish what I believe is her more practical attitude toward gastronomy. I allude to Ray Canterberys interpretation of The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, to dem onstrate Glorias struggle for class (That Damned T horstein Veblen 111). In lieu of the more subjective comestible transaction sought by Anthony, I posit that Gloria dedica tes herself to the objective vocation of conspicuous consum ption (113-14), which disregards the pleasurable and corporeal aspects of dining, and seeks the social privile ge associated with wealth instead.
27 Childhood Experiences The concept of moral orphanhood could certainly apply to Gloria as well. Despite her having been spoiled and breast-fed longer than normal, she is attended to by vacant parents who seem unable to modify her obstinate behavior. We obs erve the distress of Mrs. Gilbert at the multitudes of boyfriends th at Gloria had as a t eenager, how she broke their hearts with her caprici ousness and lack of commitment. And in Glorias twenties, they disapprove of her altogether: Glori a goes, goes, goesShe dances all afternoon and all night, until I think shes going to wear herself to a shadow. Her father is very worried about her ( B & D 39). And interestingly enough, Mr. Gilbert expresses his disapproval in a particular instance in terms of gastronomy: she never ate her meals (40). Gloria also manifests an oral fixation in adulthood, which occurs in the form of her sucking on gum drops and biting her hands when sh e faces a situation that displeases her. Despite Glorias weak parental relationships and manifestations of orality, it does not seem as though the reader should worry a bout Gloria. This is not to say that her behavior is balanced or mature by any means; however, Gloria demonstrates a stronger personality type than Anthony does, an ab ility to make it on her own regardless of negative experiences in her formative years. Affinity for Control Like Anthony attitude toward food and drink, Glorias attitude can be read as part of her vocation of procuring a husband; West ar gues that [h]er business is to be alluring to suitors (51), which the reader can observe in her selection of da inty meals. We can also observe Glorias sense of purpose in her preference for sobriety in social settings:
28 she complains to Anthony about the drunken bacon-burning, the rudeness of Anthonys guest Joe Hull (B & D 240), and the fact that he is so simple when [he is] drunk (268). This last remark indicates two things: he r preference for sobriety and her aversion to Anthonys basic sensory percep tions, his inescapable corpor eal dependence. When she does drink, she usually takes no more than her accustomed limit of four precisely timed cocktails (224). For Gl oria, inebriation represents wea kness and lack of control. The bacon-burning comment might suggest that not only was there a mess in her kitchen that night, but that, for such a vain woman as hers elf, she is turned off by such a fat-laden snack. Gloria seems to interpret a com pulsion for food and drink as weakness and dependence upon outside forces, which is a de pendence to which she herself is unwilling to submit. This parallels her refusal to commit to a man in the years before she meets Anthony. As previously stated, West believes it is Glorias objective to make a good match; when we pair this concept with her vanity, we might concl ude that she enjoys things for a short time, and quickly, because sh e has an objective: to extract what she can before thingssuch as her own youth and beautydecay. This idea can be observed in her tour of Robert E. Lees house, when she expounds to Anthony her philosophy that people should let things take their course and then decay in due time. Such sentiments make Gloria appear practical. In a relate d scene, Gloria identifies with lower-class patrons at the Marathon cabaret. She realizes that she hersel f manifests some essence of lower class. Anthony protests, longing for her to be one of his little idiots ( B & D 72), but she insists:
29 You dont know meIve got a streak of what youd call cheapness. I dont know where I get it but itsoh, things like this and bright colors and gaudy vulgarity. I seem to belong here. These people could appreciate me and take me for granted, and these men would fall in lo ve with me and admire me, whereas the clever men I meet would just analyze me and tell me Im this because of this or that because of that (73). This description seems to render Glorias dete rioration at novels end less tragic than Anthonys because she possesses a callousness that will temper the blow of not inheriting Cross Patchs millions in time. Interpersonal Relationships Suitors Glorias interpersonal relationships mainly consist of flirtations and friendships with men. Beginning with her string of teen age boyfriends, Gloria is known to break hearts and take names later on in her journa l. Like many of the instances in Anthonys social behavior, Gloria manifests some of her interacti on in gastronomical terms. For instance, she participates in the dining ritual to avoid boredom ( B & D 228) and confirm that she is still able to attract men (411). Sh e also displays oral behavior such as nail biting and sucking on gum dropsa nervous hab it with plenty of s uggestive power. Men seem to interpret her candy-sucking as f lirtation, or at the ve ry least, endearing idiosyncrasyan imperfection that they might exploit in order to draw closer to her romantically.
30 This suggestion of flirtation is not lost on Maury Noble. He meets her two years after she has already come out in Kansas City society, but nevertheless, finds her beautiful and amusing (82). Maury expresses a nostalgia for his ability to be stirred up; in The Connoisseur of Kisses, we observe Gloria succum bing to the same type of coldness after having grown bored of the tender tribute of many eyes (81). Like Geraldine or Dot with Anthony, Gloria s eems better suited for Maury because both possess an eternally old soul, which might be understood as a social assimilation or purpose which Anthony seems incapable of attaining. During her courtship with Anthony, Gloria reveals in a journal entry her desires for their relationship, namely, that sh e wants to marry Anthonya temporarily passionate lover with wisdom enough to realiz e when it has flown and that it must fly (147). This passage might suggest that Gloria consid ers Anthony to be reasonably mature, or eternally old (51) as we find with Maury. Ho wever, Gloria expresses her intentions in the journal ev en more clearly, and foreshadows the doomed fate of her relationship with Anthony, in prandial te rms: What a fateto grow rotund and unseemly, to lose my self-love, to think in terms of milk, oatmeal (147). Here we observe Glorias aversion to the very types of basic comfort foods that she will so desperately crave with Anthony by novels end. Females Gloria manifests a distinct mistrust of female companionship. Perhaps this is because she desires to be the belle of the ball wherever she goes, or because she uses teas for gossip and the negotiation of her social superiority. Besides her occasional outings
31 with Muriel and Rachael Jerry l, Anthony notes that Gloria is unresponsive to female intimacy ( B & D 228). One particular instance, in which she accepts an invitation from Rachael Jerryl (now Barnes), whom she be lieves was once ensconced in extramarital relations with her own Anthony, illustrates th at her jealousy is surpassed only by the shallow (Searles 14) desire to keep her enemies closer than her friends ( B & D 364). Another particular scene in Chapter Thr eeThe Broken Lute, depicts Glorias jealousy over Rachael in gastr onomical terms. Gloria calls Anthony aside to protest his paying for their drink and entertainment while in the midst of entertaining his guests Maury, Dick, the Barneses, and Fred Paramore. GLORIA: ...why do you insist on paying for everything? Both those men have more money than you! ANTHONY: Why, Gloria! Theyre my guests! GLORIA: Thats no reason why you should pay for a bottle of champagne Rachael Barnes smashed. Di ck tried to fix that second taxi bill, and you wouldnt let him (269). Here we can observe the te nsion of socio-gastronomic styles between Gloria and Anthony; Gloria wants the guest s to have the decency to l eave before breakfast (280), whereas, Anthony cannot spoil his guests enoug h. This tension aggravates Gloria so much that while Anthony serves in the ar my, Gloria decides to spite her husband by abandoning her cocktail restriction in the company of another man. I wish you werent married, said Collins, his face a ludicrous travesty of in all seriousness. Why? She held out her glass to be filled with a high-ball.
32 Dont drink any more, he urged her, frowning. Why not? Youd be nicerif you didnt. Gloria caught suddenly the intende d suggestion of the remark, the atmosphere he was attempting to create. She wanted to laughyet she realized that there was nothing to laugh at. She had been enjoying the evening, and she had no desire to go homeat the same time it hurt her pride to be flirted with on just that level. Pour me another drink, she insisted. Please Oh, dont be ridiculous! she cried in exasperation. Very well. He yielded with ill grace. In this scene, Gloria negotiates, or rather, dictates her social status in gastronomical terms. She will not endure being told to stop drinking, not by Captain Collins, nor by her own standard of sobriety if it means her superiority and control over her situa tion is at stake. Rhetoric of Food and Drink Choices Wilhelmis discussion of New Gastronomy provides the more fitting description of Glorias comestible transaction. As opposed to Anthony, who operates under the subjective comestible transaction of Eater Response Theory, Gloria, chooses foods for their objective meaning (Wilhelmi 81). For the New Gastronome, the purpose of dining is to [discover] the objective meani ng of food (81), and then seek out the
33 particular menu items that authenticate the eater to be a person of culture and class (81). Glorias consistent dining on tomato sandwiches, stuffed tomatoes, lemonade, and gum drops establish her desire to choose foods for their objective meaning, and therefore, negotiate her social status: Not only did she require food from a selection of a dozen dishes, but in addition this food must be prep ared in just a certai n way (161). Whereas lemonade and gum drops do not connote culture and class, they do suggest a manifestation of orality, as Stavola suggest s of Anthony, and establish Glorias youthful mystique and charm, as noted by Maury Noble in A Ladys Legs: [s]he was tremendously alive. She wa s eating gum-drops (48). In addition, we might consider the properties of foods found on Glorias plate prior to and during her honeymoonher toma to sandwiches and lemonade are light, acidic, vegetarian. These foods possess acidic properties; they do not fill; they are not rich or savory. The lightness of Glorias food represents how she likes to keep her figure and her dinner-time conversations. These prope rties also seem to symbolize the crisp or tart manner in which Gloria behaves towa rd people whom she perceives are inferior. In fact, George J. Searles interprets Glorias overly critical palate as a synechdoche of her whole personality (18). Ironically, how ever, by novels end, Gloria perceives her inferiors in terms of sweetness, just as An thony does. In the chap ter No Matter!, an interesting transformation occurs regarding her food choices; Gloria opts for heartier fare after the deterioration of her intimacy with Anthony. After hi s stint in the army, she is described eating eggs (429), a nd Anthony brings her potato sa lad and cold chicken from the delicatessen (442). At this point, she seems to welcome comfort foods and maintains a new objective: procuring them with what little money she and Anthony have left. In
34 one instance, she counts her coins before deci ding whether to go for coffee and rolls, or stay in for devilled ham and bread (413). Gl oria also begins prep aring her own meals. Whereas, this is a technical aspect of di ningthe Patches can no longer afford a cookit underscores her sinking into the lower class and coming to depend on the richer and more basic foods to which she previously held an aversion. Conclusions about Gloria Patch Glorias comestible transaction and style of indulgence do not meld with Anthonys. One of the biggest tragedies of the novel is that th e intimacy of their marriage deteriorates as a result of adherence and lack of appreciation for individual styles of appreciating luxury. Whereas this pursuit would appear ro mantic and leisurely, the privileges and pressures tear the couple apart. Gloria does not crave or i ndulge in food the way that Anthony does; therefore, I argue that she uses food and drink as a m eans to an endnamely, as currency for the practical transaction of her desired social status. Not only does Gloria wish to be perceived as beautiful and superior, but also as wealthy; her picky eating habits suggest the privilege of gastronomical frivolity. F itzgerald clearly unde rstood the concept of conspicuous consumption because in additi on to Gloria Patch, a majority of his protagonists display just su ch behavior: Jay Gatsby and Dick Diver clearly come to mind. In the short fiction, we have Ans on Hunter and the Washington family, most notably. Fitzgerald uses the gastronomy motif to symbolize Glorias de sire for control. This desire for gastronomic control unders cores her desire for male attention and
35 privileged treatment. In th e beginning of the novel, Gloria eschews hearty fare and extended dinners in favor of light foods and tea-time gossip. But by novels end, her tastes are absorbed into Ant honys, and she craves comfort f oods. Searles argues that as the novel progresses, Glorias selections connote shallowness and frivolity (14), however, I believe that they symbolize her waning vitality and newfound appetite for the security of Anthonys foods. She who neve r made coffee now makes three meals a day, and frets over procuring the eggs, milk, br ead, and bacon; Gloria becomes a carbon copy of the insecure Anthony, who craves an egg-nog and a walk to stave off the hardships of life.
36 CHAPTER FOURConclusion Merits of the Food and Drink Motif Regardless of character attitudes toward food and drink in the novel, what I hope to have made clear is that Fitzgerald expertly used the motif of gastronomy to symbolize his characters desires for indulgence, co mmunion, and privilege. These prandial allusions compliment Fitzgeralds particular brand of aesthetic desc ription, contribute to the literary merit of the novel, and arguably, sa tisfy a subliminal appe tite on the part of his readers. Fitzgerald s eemed to understand that the mention of food and drink in literature is more powerful than other re presentations of luxury because it engages multiple senses. Food is also a universal physical need; whereas some perceive dining as an opportunity for pleasure, everyone perceive s procuring sustenance as a necessity for life. We need food and drink in addition to our wan ting to taste them. This is an advantage over inedible representations of luxury because things like cars, clothes, furniture, and dwellings can only be experienced with three, possibly four, of the senses. But food and drink employ all five. Although she was referring to recipes, Atwoods musing on literary gastronomy could easily translate to the pleasure of literary gastronomy found in The Beautiful and Damned : [I]ts fun to r ead about it, and to speculatetheres a certain sybaritic voyeurism involved, an indulgence by proxy (51). I believe that this motif also influenc es reader response in terms of character sympathy. In Anthony and Gloria, we are pres ented with flawed characters with human compulsions and idiosyncrasies. The charac ters are on a quest for the continuation of
37 pleasant episodes in life, and they actually appear to have the means to achieve it. These human desires and compulsions contribute to a more sympathetic consideration of the Patchesthey may be immature, selfish, decadent, and miserable, but they are also utterly identifiable. Concessions When evaluating literary characters, so me scholars may find it superfluous to consider whether or not characters eat and dr ink. Many attend to higher-order concerns such as plot and theme, which can be read more universally. What difference does it make whether a character bites into a sandwich or a steak? If the cake is consumed at a wedding as opposed to a birthd ay party? In fact, the dining motif might easily be subordinated to the concerns that West high lights as some of the major themes in the novel: the importance of vocation, the danger of idleness, the allurement of alcohol, and the enervating effect of money (Question of Vocation 56); however, I believe that the motif of gastronomy contributes to an addi tional and equally important theme: the psychological dependence on soci al ritual, specifically, An thonys compulsion for dining as a means of finding solace and identity and Gl orias utilitarian praxis as a means for seeking upward social mobility. To suggest that the intimacy of the Patch marriage deteriorates due to antipodal comestible transactions would be gross oversimplification and exaggeration of the significan ce of prandial references. Bu t it seems to me that these ruminations certainly add depth to the them es delineated by West, and that they cause readers to develop a deeper concern for th e characters and, as a result, a deeper appreciation for the novel.
38 Attention to gastronomy in the literature of F. Scott Fitzgerald provides a richer reading experience. Through it readers might better apprec iate spoiled and frivolous characters that seem destined to make me sses of their lives. A ttention to the dining attitudes, rituals, and food choices connect s readers with these characters because it draws upon the basic corporeal needs and behavi oral compulsions that readers share with Anthony and Gloria. Tension as a Result of Different Gastronomical Approaches As I have attempted to demonstrate, Anthony and Gloria Patch adopt different attitudes toward dining: Anthony seeks out pleasant episodes in order to stave off inevitable deterioration, and Gl oria dines from a more practic al stance of social ritual. This gastronomical binary opposition aggr avates their marriag e to the point of deterioration, and in one pivotal scene, Ant hony pits his will agains t Glorias and ignites the fuse that explodes their intimacy. Up until that point, Anthony was content dealing with Glorias finicky appetite and poor social etiquette, but once he finally carves out a vocation for himself, the pursuit of pleasant ga stronomical episodes, he rejects passivity and defends his ritual because it alone can effectively comfort him. With Eric Merriam, Anthony had been s itting over a decanter of Scotch all the hot summer afternoon, while Gloria and Constance Merriam swam and sunned themselves at the Beach ClubLater they had all four played with inconsequential sandwiches; then Gloria had risen, tapping Anthonys knee with her parasol to get his attentionHe felt wi th injured navet that Gloria should not have interrupted such innocent and harmless enjoyment. This whiskey had
39 both soothed and clarified the restless th ings in his mindWas he always to retreat from pleasant episodes at a touch of her para sol or a flicker of her eye?...This was the occasion of all occasi ons, since for a whim she had deprived him of a pleasure. His determination solidified, approached momentarily a dull and sullen hate ( B & D 196-8, emphasis mine). Anthony effectively imposes his will over Gl oria by laying hands on her; however, the forcefulness with which he does so renders his victory hollow, similar to his pitiful murmurs of triumph in the conclusion. But readers should not assume that Ant hony lashes out whenever Gloria deprives him of pleasures; on the contrary, he endures much before finally asserting himself. Moreover, the suggestion of his being able to share gastronomi cal pleasures with his wife cheers him as much as his Saturday night w ith Maury. In the The Soul of Gloria section of The Radiant Hour, Anthony gladly gets out of bed to prepare a snack for Gloria: Anthony, did I hear anybody say they were thirsty? Anthony laughed abruptly and with a sheepish and amused grin got out of bed. With just a little piece of ice in the water, she added. Do you suppose I could have that? Gloria used the adjective little whenever she asked a favorit made the favor sound less arduous. But Anthony laughed againwhether she wanted a cake of ice or a marble in it, he must go down-stairs to the kitchenHer voice
40 followed him through the hall: And just a little cracker with just a little marmalade on it Oh, gosh! sighed Anthony in raptur ous slang, shes wonderful, that girl! She has it! (183). Admittedly, I take a sympathetic view to ward Anthony Patch. While Anthony appears socially, psychologically, and vocationally stunt ed, he has at least aspired to a more selfless identity than Gloria; he wants to reac h out to others, which seems to suggest the possibility that he can achieve meaningful relationships. Whereas in Glorias case, it seems that the capriciousness, social age nda, and selfishness with which she conducts herself render her immutable. Similar to New York Times food writer Mi mi Sheratons wish that two of her favorite literary characters could jump the pages and get togeth er for a meal, I wish that Anthony Patch could have been coddled in his formative years and served lavish meals of Boeuf en Daube by the matronly Mrs. Ramsay of Virginia Woolfs To the Lighthouse Here is a literary characte r capable of appreciating Ant honys penchant for gastronomy, one who willingly indulges and respects the aestheticism, communion, and social ritual of dining. Perhaps if Anthony had been fortunate to have such a mother, we would be reading an entirely different ending to The Beautiful and Damned Unfortunately however, as with Gilroys estim ation of Swann and Prousts na rrator, gastronomy fails to effect a communion of souls (108) for Ant hony and Gloria. This can be most clearly observed in the afore-mentioned pivotal scene. Anthony so desperately implores Gloria to stay and partake with him at the Merriams ; but in her refusal, as in Proust, what occurs is instead a meeting of mutually impenetrable solitudes (Gilroy 108).
41 REFERENCES Atwood, Margaret. Introducing The CanLit Foodbook . Literary Gastronomy. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988. 51-6. Bryer, Jackson R. Four Decades of Fitzgera ld Studies: The Best and the Brightest. Twentieth Century Literature 26.2 (1980): 247-67. Bryer, Jackson R., Alan Margolies and Ruth Prigozy, eds. Introduction. F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Perspectives. Athens: U of Georgia P, 2000. vii-xv. Canterbery, E. Ray. The Beautiful a nd That Damned Thorstein Veblen. F. Scott Fitzgerald: Under the Influence. St. Paul: Paragon House, 2006. 111-132. Chambers, John B. The Beautiful and Damned . The Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald New York: St. Martins Press, 1989. 67-90. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Beautiful and Damned New York: Scribner, 1922. ---. The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A New Collection Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. New York: Scriber, 1989. 182. Gallo, Rose Adrienne. B y Disaster Touched: The Beautiful and Damned . F. Scott Fitzgerald New York: Frederick Unger Pub. Co., 1978. 24-33. Gilroy, James P. Food, Cooking, and Eating in Prousts la recherch du temps perdu. Twentieth Century Literature 33.1 (1987): 98-109. Hook, Andrew. Cases for Reconsideration: Fitzgeralds This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned . Scott Fitzgerald: The Promises of Life London: Vision Press, 1989. 17-36. Kiell, Norman. Food and Drink in Literature: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 1995. Kolb-Seletski, Natalia M. Gastr onomy, Gogol, and His Fiction. Slavic Review 29.1 (1970): 35-57.
42 Plowden, Sarah Caroline Harman. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Literary Synesthesia: The Heightening of Mood, Moment, and Ambiguity Diss. University of South Carolina, 1990. ProQuest Digital Dissertations ProQuest. USF Library. 6 Feb. 2008 < http://www.proquest.com.proxy.usf.edu/ > Searles, George J. The Symbolic Function of Food and Eating in F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Beautiful and Damned . Ball State University Forum 22.3 (1981): 14-19. Stavola, Thomas J. The Beautiful and Damned : Anthony Patch. Scott Fitzgerald: Crisis in an American Identity London: Vision Press Limited, 1979. 107-124. West, James L. W. The Question of Vocation in This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned . The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald Ed.Ruth Prigozy. Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 2002. 48-56. Wilhelmi, Karl. Eater Response: A Tran sactional Theory of the Edible Work. The English Journal 82.4 (1993): 80-82. Zhang, Aiping. Bars: Windows of Society. Enchanted Places: The Use of Setting in F. Scott Fitzgeralds Fiction Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997. 49-77.
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam Ka
controlfield tag 001 001992347
007 cr mnu|||uuuuu
008 090317s2008 flu s 000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a E14-SFE0002385
Dullaghan, Melissa Faith.
"Pleasant episodes" of gastronomy :
b food and drink in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The beautiful and damned
h [electronic resource] /
by Melissa Faith Dullaghan.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 42 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This thesis explores the motif of gastronomy in Fitzgerald's critically undertreated second novel, The Beautiful and Damned. Within the discussion of the leisure class, Fitzgerald scholars often focus on Jay Gatsby's parties, but they seem to neglect Anthony Patch and company's fancy for food and drink in Ivy League supper clubs of Manhattan, vaudeville theaters, and houses of languor in Upstate New York. Building upon George J. Searles's article "The Symbolic Function of Food and Eating in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned," this thesis examines the meaning of Fitzgerald's pervasive "prandial allusions" and character psychology with regard to dining. Whereas Searles posits that Fitzgerald "employed depictions of food and eating as symbols of his characters' shallowness and frivolity" (14), this thesis explores the possibility that Anthony Patch craves "pleasant episodes" of dining and specific culinary combinations because he interprets them as the essence of social ritual and corporeal comfort. Because many critics hold that The Beautiful and Damned lacks coherence and sputters as a pre-Gatsby creation, this thesis suggests that the novel can be read as Anthony's quest to assert and cling to his own brand of decadence, which is tragically distinct from that of his wife Gloria's.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.