Self-Absorption in Fitzgerald’s “The Baby Party”

For its theme, satire, and writing style , F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 short story “The Baby Party” is a piece to which I return.

First, the theme of “The Baby Party” is an universal and always relevant one: The problem of misplaced priorities and self-absorption. Often, literature deals with themes that might be considered more important, such as life and death, or sin, or prejudice, but it is easy to forget that misplaced priorities and self-absorption can lead to just as much trouble.

For example, in “The Baby Party,” John and Edith Andros incorrectly place their priority in life on putting their child, Ede, on a higher pedestal than she ought to have been placed upon, and they are self-absorbed in having their child represent them. As a result, the couple engages in a friendship-threatening confrontation with a neighbor couple, which ends in a fistfight between the two husbands, all because Edith thought her Ede could do no wrong.

Second, the light satire in “The Baby Party” is quite funny, because Fitzgerald presents adults acting like babies. As babies will fuss and fight over trifles, the adults here vehemently argue because of their children fighting over a toy. Then, even after the fight, Edith refuses to acknowledge that the entire fuss happened because of her self-absorption.

Third, Fitzgerald’s writing style in “The Baby Party” is simply delightful. It is not overly adorned, and nothing detracts from the story. The story itself is told hilariously.

So theme, hilarious light satire, and a delightful writing style combine to make “The Baby Party” a comedic and insightful story.

One thought on “Self-Absorption in Fitzgerald’s “The Baby Party”

  1. Pingback: 2 Weeks of Brief Literary Thoughts – The Flummoxed

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