Symbolism In 'The Diamond As Big As The Ritz'

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The short story “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” by F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the story of John, a young man from Hades, who was sent to a private school and thrown into the lives of young privileged boys. During a vacation from school, he agrees to accompany his friend Percy Washington to his house and through a turn of events the trip almost leads to his peril. Through the use of Washington’s daughter, Kismine, F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays the naivety that goes along with being wealthy in the story. He uses her to give countless examples of the stupidity that comes along with being wealthy. Another important symbol he presents is the pit created by Braddock Washington which symbolizes a timeless hell.
Wealthy people are painted as sophisticated
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Scott Fitzgerald used many symbols to portray different aspects of hell in the story. One version of hell in this story is the pit that Braddock Washington created for the adventurous mariners who found their way onto the Washington’s property. This pit symbolizes the mariner’s hell they have made for themselves. Everything that they love has been taken away from them and all they have is the other men in the pit and the food that Washington provides for them. Washington tells the men “I’ve offered to have your wives, sweethearts, children, and mothers kidnapped and brought out here” (Ch. 6, pg.13). As seen in this story the wealthy people put their own gain and happiness before others, so they wouldn’t think twice about having their family come down to the hell that they have created for themselves. However, the mariners don’t have the same state of mind as the wealthy and they sacrifice their own happiness for the safety of their family. The pit that Washington built is ironic because it eventually led to the creation of his own hell. Washington let out one of the mariners to teach his daughter Italian, but the mariner escaped and led an army of planes back to where he had been held captive for years in the pit. The planes bombed everything that the Washington’s had been protecting for so long. If Washington hadn’t only thought of his own self benefit by letting the mariner out of his hell he would have never had his world

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