ANALYSIS - Diamond as big as the ritz
The story was written purely for Fitzgerald’s own amusement, and was not as popular as his more realistic fiction. However, behind the fantasy and extravagance, the recurrent themes of selfishness, beauty, artifice and excess are still evident in this story as much as any other of Fitzgerald’s collected works. Unger, the protagonist of the story, comes from a town called Hades, which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld. Unger indeed comes from the depths of society to the dizzy heights of the Washingtons’ diamond mountain and then, it is implied, back to Hades again. His epic journey is a moral fable as he learns the extremes of selfishness and greed, but also innocence and hope. Unger states that he loves “very rich” people, but he becomes repulsed when he realizes that Braddock Washington captures and even kills those who threaten the anonymity and seclusion of their private paradise. Particularly striking is the cruelty of keeping men enslaved under the pretense that slavery remains a legal arrangement in the United States. The passage through the strange village of Fish, bruised, desolate and mysterious, is a contrast to the Washington property. Both places are isolated and remote, but Fish is naturally barren whereas the Washington property is unnaturally lavish. The Washington property is designed by a “movie man”- the only person able to create artifice on the grand scale that the Washingtons desire. There is a Fitzgerald joke in the fact that the man who can create such magnificence cannot read or write. Braddock Washington personifies excess. He is tied to his property and cannot cash in on his greatest asset. There is a splendid irony in that Washington has found the biggest diamond in the world, but if he made this known, it would devalue this and every other diamond. When Braddock tries to bribe God, he is clearly mad, but his reasoning has a chilling logic – “God had His price, of course. God was...
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