Zelda Fitzgerald Essay

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Zelda Fitzgerald

Zelda Fitzgerald began life looking forward to what it could offer her. A popular debutante and success at everything she had yet to try enticed her to believe that she was infallible. It was only during her later life that she realized that life, both physically and mentally, had its breaking point. Though many things have been blamed as the cause of her mental breakdown, there is no specific root to her problem. Diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1930, Zelda would be condemned to spending the rest of her life in and out of mental health facilities, the place where she would take her final breath, killed by a fire in 1948.

Zelda Fitzgerald’s first breakdown occurred while living abroad in 1929.
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The doctor’s surmised that Zelda’s breakdown had something to do with their marriage and advised Scott to stay away until her treatment was well established. Though they could not see each other Zelda and Scott communicated through letters, and it is through these letters that Zelda’s mental state can be examined. Zelda’s letters ranged in emotions depending on the state of her illness, and the length of time of her stay at Les Rives de Pragins. In the beginning she seems despondent writing, “Every day it seems to me that things are more barren and sterile and hopeless” (Bryer, 80).[2] Towards the middle of her treatment Zelda seems angry with Scott, blaming him for her disease, “To me, it is not astonishing that I should look on you with unfriendly eyes, you could have saved me all this trouble…” (Bryer, 85). At the end of her first year of treatment Zelda’s letters become more hopeful and loving, reminiscent of the letters between Zelda and Scott during their youth. In one, Zelda writes, “You are a sweet person-the sweetest and dearest of all and I love you as I love my vanished youth-which is as much as a human heart can hold” (Bryer, 109). Soon following this letter, after a year and three months of treatment Zelda was discharged.

Her discharge papers cited her condition as caused by, “reaction to her feelings of inferiority (primarily toward her husband…)” (Milford, 190). Part of
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