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Dalyrimple Goes Wrong

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Dalyrimple Goes Wrong

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


Half unconsciously he turned a page–he caught sight of his name –it was a salary list:

Dalyrimple Demming Donahoe Everett

His eyes stopped–


So Tom Everett, Macy’s weak-chinned nephew, had started at sixty –and in three weeks he had been out of the packing-room and into the office.

So that was it! He was to sit and see man after man pushed over him: sons, cousins, sons of friends, irrespective of their capabilities, while HE was cast for a pawn, with “going on the road” dangled before his eyes–put off with the stock remark: “I’ll see; I’ll look into it.” At forty, perhaps, he would be a bookkeeper like old Hesse, tired, listless Hesse with a dull routine for his stint and a dull background of boarding-house conversation.

This was a moment when a genii should have pressed into his hand the book for disillusioned young men. But the book has not been written.

A great protest swelling into revolt surged up in him. Ideas half forgotten, chaoticly perceived and assimilated, filled his mind. Get on–that was the rule of life–and that was all. How he did it, didn’t matter


We root for Dalyrimple as he tries to better himself, and then wince when he begins to “go wrong.” A morally-ambiguous cautionary tale, with a charismatic central character. Plenty of character and plot for a short one-act…but you’d have to invent a second half to make it into a full-length. (Although you might consider Act Two is about Dalyrimple’s great-grandson, and run the same story beats, giving us to hold out hope that the great-grandson won’t “go wrong”?)


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