Twilight for the American Dream

The Great Depression had a stranglehold on the American people in the early 1930s, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, a member of the so-called Lost Generation and chronicler of the Jazz Age, was struggling to make ends meet and to keep his marriage to his increasingly troubled wife intact by writing mediocre short stories to keep the money flowing.  In 1934, he published his last completed novel, Tender is the Night, dealing with a brilliant psychiatrist who struggles with an increasingly meaningless career and an emotionally troubled wife and finally declines into drunkenness and dissipation.  The goals the protagonist established for himself – fame, money, a beautiful wife, and social influence – were at the heart of his understanding of the American Dream.  Fitzgerald had discovered, however, that such achievements are both empty and transitory at best, as anyone who knows the Scriptures can readily attest.  The novel is a classic illustration of Jesus’ question to His disciples, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”  This is a question that we must always keep before us in this materialistic age.