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No Second Acts?

January 2021

KEVIN BAKER’S CRITICISM (IN HIS INTER- view with Harold Evans, September issue) of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s observation that there are no second acts in American lives is, I believe, based on a common misunderstanding of what Fitzgerald meant. Unlike traditional theater, where there was a first act that presented a problem, a second act that looked at complications and alternative solutions, and a third act that resolved it, Americans want to skip the second act and leap immediately to solutions. Any history of America, including, I suspect, Mr. Evans’s, will provide ample evidence of this attitude.

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