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The Rich Boy Research Papers

How do you start a The Rich Boy research paper? Our expert writers suggest like this:

Approaching F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novella “The Rich Boy” from the perspective of the new historical criticism, it is apparent that there are elements of the time period in which the text was written that are clearly reflective in the work.

  • First published in 1925
  • The meaning from the text can be derived by considering the prevailing assumptions and ideas that were present during this era.
  • The novel is one of new historical criticism, which seeks to delineate the political contribution that a work makes to society

Your research paper on The Rich Boy will need to consider the work through the social construction of the rich versus the poor.

The Rich Boy

At the outset, Fitzgerald makes the following observation “Let me tell you about the rich. They are different form you and me. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we have had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves”. Placing this within the context of new historical criticism, it can be effectively argued that the prevailing mechanism that spurred the creation of social discourse during the first half of the twentieth century was the division of classes within society. The rich were given a position of power, not just because of their money, but also because of the emphasis that society placed on money in a new industrialized world. In short, society made the rich and gave them their power within the structure of social discourse.

Thus, what the reader comes to learn from Fitzgerald’s novel is not a chronicle of how specific historical events took their toll on the central character’s lives; rather what the reader comes to know is how the social construction of reality during this time period helped to foster certain customs and traditions. This can be well explicated when one considers Anson’s attitudes toward the women that he dates. Throughout the text, Anson’s relationships appear to be the central focus of the text. However, when these relationships are broken down and considered within the context of new historical criticism, they reveal a hierarchy of political and social power that rich men wielded over women, even rich women.

While the concept of new historical criticism may connote to the causal observer a new method for assessing the historical context of a particular time period, what it actually provides is a mechanism by which the individual can clearly see how certain political and social realities evolved. In the case of “The Rich Boy” Fitzgerald is able to show the reader that the patriarchal system of power that was held by wealthy males continued to dominate even into the twentieth century. Thus, the importance of Fitzgerald’s text clearly stems beyond a social commentary about the rich; it demonstrates the development of social discourse as well.

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