Like Nick in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald found this new lifestyle seductive and exciting, and, like Gatsby, he had always idolized the very rich. Now he found himself in an era in which unrestrained materialism set the tone of society, particularly in the large cities of the East. Even so, like Nick, Fitzgerald saw through the glitter of the Jazz Age to the moral emptiness and hypocrisy beneath, and part of him longed for this absent moral center. In many ways, The Great Gatsby represents Fitzgerald’s attempt to confront his conflicting feelings about the Jazz Age. Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald was driven by his love for a woman who symbolized everything he wanted, even as she led him toward everything he despised.
Writing was not Zelda's only form of artistic expression - she was also a painter. She painted brilliantly colored whimsical, sometimes fantastical works of art. Her granddaughter, Eleanor Lanahan, describes Zelda's paintings as "theatrical. They're like on a raised stage floor, and the characters are actors who are before you, waiting to perform." Several different areas of Zelda's life influenced her choice of subject matter. She painted one series based on children's fairy tales such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "The Lobster Quadrille," from Alice in Wonderland. The Bible and Zelda's strong religious beliefs inspired another series of illustrations. She also painted from life, creating portraits of both herself and her husband, and depicting scenes from New York in the 1940s. A fire destroyed most paintings, and Zelda even donated some to the army during World War II to be painted over and used as canvas.