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The Cut-Glass Bowl

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The Cut-Glass Bowl

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Genre: Drama, Romance
Setting: America
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: 30 Minutes, 45 Minutes, 60 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


“I want you to help me make some of that punch before dinner.”

Hurriedly rehooking her dress, she descended the stairs and found him grouping the essentials on the dining-room table. She went to the sideboard and, lifting one of the bowls, carried it over.

“Oh, no,” he protested, “let’s use the big one. There’ll be Ahearn and his wife and you and I and Milton, that’s five, and Tom and Jessie, that’s seven: and your sister and Joe Ambler, that’s nine. You don’t know how quick that stuff goes when YOU make it.”

“We’ll use this bowl,” she insisted. “It’ll hold plenty. You know how Tom is.”

Tom Lowrie, husband to Jessie, Harold’s first cousin, was rather inclined to finish anything in a liquid way that he began.

Harold shook his head.

“Don’t be foolish. That one holds only about three quarts and there’s nine of us, and the servants’ll want some–and it isn’t strong punch. It’s so much more cheerful to have a lot, Evie; we don’t have to drink all of it.”

“I say the small one.”

Again he shook his head obstinately.

“No; be reasonable.”

“I AM reasonable,” she said shortly. “I don’t want any drunken men in the house.”

“Who said you did?”

“Then use the small bowl.”

“Now, Evie—”

He grasped the smaller bowl to lift it back. Instantly her hands were on it, holding it down. There was a momentary struggle, and then, with a little exasperated grunt, he raised his side, slipped it from her fingers, and carried it to the sideboard.

She looked at him and tried to make her expression contemptuous, but he only laughed. Acknowledging her defeat but disclaiming all future interest in the punch, she left the room.


Troubled marriage played out through various scenes involving a cut-glass bowl.  Haunting and powerfully written by Fitzgerald, this story is rife with subtext and tightly-wound characters, just begging to burst into song.  It’s early Fitzgerald, and has a whiff of melodrama to it, but the psychological truths at its core ring true, a little reminiscent of Tolstoy.  An adpation might become high-drama, or gothic, even perhaps ghoulish melodrama in the right hands.


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