Mr. Icky by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Author: Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Published: The Smart Set (March 1920), Tales of the Jazz Age (1922)
Genre: Short Story
1. Mr. Icky Synopsis
This story features a hundred-year-old man and his relationships with his children. It follows a few incidents in the elderly man’s life and his interactions with a few characters. It is a short, fun story and an enjoyable read.
2. Mr. Icky Summary
Mr. Icky is a hundred-year-old man with dozens of children. He and a young boy, Peter, are conversing in a field, discussing Mr. Icky’s declining health. Despite feeling frail, Mr. Icky was feeling content with his current situation. The conversation then shifted to Mr. Icky’s earlier years as an arsonist and how he was rehabilitated in jail. Just then, a man in a suit suddenly appeared. His name was Divine, and he was looking for Ulsa Icky, Mr. Icky’s daughter.
Mr. Icky informs Divine that his daughter is in London. However, Divine insists she has already left London and is coming here to meet him. They wait until she arrives. Ulsa is described earlier as pretty and plump, but now she has a shapeless face. Divine seeks Ulsa’s hand in marriage and asks Mr. Icky for permission.
Mr. Icky is sorrowful that all of his children are leaving him. Just as he is expressing his sadness, Charles, one of his children, runs out of the house with an anchor hanging from his neck and a rope around his shoulder, declaring that he is heading out to the seas. Mr. Icky sadly remarks that Charles has already gone to sea long ago.
Mr. Icky and his children engage in a discussion about the meaning of life. He randomly opens a page from the Bible and reads from it, but his children laugh and make excuses to leave. Left alone, he lies down and closes his eyes. Suddenly, Peter appears out of nowhere, ecstatic about a mothball he has found. He gently places it on Mr. Icky before leaving. The story ends with the words, ”The play can end at this point or go on indefinitely.”
The main focus of Mr. Icky is relationships, particularly with his children. Although some comedic elements exist, the story does not delve too deeply into other themes.