Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published: Hearst’s International Cosmopolitan (May 1923)
Genre: Short Stories
“Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar” follows Jim Powell, who meets Amanthis Powell and helps her become a New York society girl by setting up an academy called “Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar.”
2. Story Summary
2.1. Ride to New York
During a trip to New York from Tarleton, Jim Powell notices a girl lying in a hammock. Just as he sees her, his car breaks down right as it reaches her house. Realizing that his car needs fixing, he gets out of his car to ask the girl for a hammer and nails. The girl named Amanthis Powell invites Jim and his servant to lunch, and over the meal, they realize their identical last names. Jim points out that she could be a New York socialite with her looks, but she denies the possibility. Jim soon makes a move after lunch.
2.2. The Academy
Soon, Jim returns, and he proposes to help Amanthis become a socialite. He gives her his car, telling him to come to his academy called Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar when she is ready. Girls learn how to use brassknuckles and play the guitar at the academy. However, drinking and smoking are prohibited. Amanthis ultimately decides to join Jim and his academy.
All goes well at the academy for a while, and Jim has plenty of students. However, one of the male students, Van Vleck, breaks the academy’s rules by drinking. Jim is angered by this and throws Van Vleck out. A vengeful Van Vleck then sabotages Jim by outing the existence of Dice, Brasskunckles & Guitar to the mothers of two female students. Upon hearing that their daughters were attending what they deemed a scandalous academy, they burst in one day and demanded Jim shut down the academy. The two mothers even threaten to call the police on Jim for admitting people of color into his academy.
Defeated, Jim has no choice but to shut down the academy and becomes sullen. However, to his surprise, Amanthis remains by his side despite him having lost everything.
Jim is the founder of the Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar Academy, which trains girls to defend themselves.
Raised traditionally and conservatively, life as a socialite intrigues her.
4. Influence on The Great Gatsby
The story serves as a prelude to the setting and background of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald’s short story explores the themes of racial divide, hedonism, and socio-economic class.
5. Frequently Asked Questions about Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar
Why is the short story titled Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar?
The short story’s name is derived from the name of Jim’s academy and the main things he teaches the female students to use.