Faces Of The Diamond
Faces of the Diamond - Essay on The Diamond as big as the Ritz
“Diamond … was designed utterly for my own amusement. I was in a mood characterized by a perfect craving for luxury, and the story began as an attempt to feed that craving on imaginary foods.” Craving is a strong, urgent and persistent desire. According to Buddhist teachings, desire is the root to all the sufferings and injustices in the world. If it were the goal of mankind to abandon their desires for excessive needs, the world would be a peaceful and harmonious place. Throughout history, there had also been great prophets such as Isaiah and other outstanding preachers who made daring attempts to convert and lead mankind back to the Lord, our God. However, their words of wisdom fell upon deaf ears for evilness can be very seductive. With a similar task to those of the prophets and preachers, the author F. Scott Fitzgerald, also known as the poet of the Jazz Age, criticizes the American society in a different approach. By stressing and emphasizing on the society’s worst features, the faults of its members will be greatly magnified and clearly defined. This literary genre of satire is employed by Fitzgerald in his novelette, “the Diamond as Big as the Ritz” to ridicule the American society on the terms of the corruption of the American dream, the maltreatment of human life and the limits to the power of wealth.
Before the dawning of the Jazz Age, the American dream stood for hard work, honesty, virtue, and morality, as any individual of the society is able to achieve success and rise to a higher level of material living regardless of one’s origin. As time proceeded, Americans began to strive for their goal through underhanded tactics thus corrupting the main principles of the utopian dream. Hence, the American dream has now become a satirical term that is known for crime, deceit, stealing, and killing. “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” features Braddock Tarleton Washington, the richest man on Earth, as one who rises to ultimate power without having to work for it. Born a direct descendent of George Washington, Braddock only takes care to protect his prized possession, the world’s biggest diamond rivaling in size with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. His task is easily accomplished by simply killing and imprisoning those who accidentally stumble upon his property and learn of his secret possession. In life, Braddock never encounters any obstacles or problems, all were provided for him at birth and he doesn’t know what it means to lose. “This is a golf course”, he continued, as they strolled along the velvet winter grass. “It’s all green, you see – no fairway, no rough, no hazards.” Braddock has an exacting personality – utterly uninterested in any ideas or opinions except his own, he enjoys playing games where he makes his own rules. For anyone who opposes him would be killed in cold blood. The megalomaniac also has little regards for human life, the sailors that he captured for intrusion were unjustly condemned to life sentence by him; his slaves would be tortured or murdered if they shall disobey him in any way. “There go fifty thousand dollars’ worth of slaves,” cried Kismine, “at prewar prices. So few Americans have any respect for property.”
Another aspect of the American dream believed that all men were created equal and that all were given the freedom to aspire. The idea of introducing slavery into the system directly contradicts the belief of justice and freedom. Slavery gives power to the enforcers while eliminating the rights of the enslaved. Fitz-Norman Culpepper Washington, Braddock’s father, read his slaves a proclamation that he had composed which announced that the shattered Southern armies were reorganized from the remains of the Civil War and they defeated the North in a one pitched battle, his slaves believed him implicitly. Through this satirical event, Fitzgerald expresses his idea to the readers that many forms of slavery still exist today. After all, it is human’s innate desire to covet material goods and power. Slavery may also exist in other forms besides the possession of human individuals. For example, all of those