In “May Day,” F. Scott Fitzgerald represents New York City as a highly contested landscape, marked by the alternating absence and presence of rigid boundaries, and fundamentally segregated by class privilege. Warning against an inadequately disciplined cityscape, Fitzgerald engages central modern-era concerns regarding the identity of the increasingly diversifying city, especially as they were expressed in emerging landscape debates and regulation. Situating “May Day” in this context provides a potent historical grounding for examining the comparative freedoms the story's diverse characters have to traverse the urban landscape, and, more broadly, illuminates how Fitzgerald's developing political and historical understanding both produces his representation of the urban landscape and advocates for the spatial practices (and the embedded social meanings) it expresses.

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