The Great Gatsby - Context

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  • Created on: 22-05-20 11:05
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  • The Great Gatsby - Context
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald
      • Born into a middle upper class family
        • Primarily raised in New York
        • First piece of literature printed at age 13 when he wrote a detective  story for a local newspaper
      • Parralells can be drawn between Fitzgerald's relationship to that of Gatsby and Daisy's
        • The pair exchanged love letters when Zelda moved to Manhattan and broke off their engagement. She later had an affair and left him.
      • Main influences were aspiration, literature, Princeton, Zelda and alcohol
      • Other texts include Tender Is The Night (1934), This Side Of Paradise (1920), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (1922) and The Last Tycoon, his last unfinished novel was released posthumously
      • The typicality's of his work include complex and conflicting family relationships, flawed upper class, war and its effects on society, and the detrimental effects of wealthy and money on morals
      • After completing 'The Great Gatsby' he became a heavy alcoholic
      • The alcoholism resulted in severe depression so he often suffered from writers block.
    • Modern and Realism in literature
      • Realism was  a literary movement which seeks to depict people for what they really are
        • Fitzgerald blends the intense symbolism and figurative language of modernism with the belief of realism.
      • Gatsby is a platonic idealist
      • When novel was written WW1 had just finished which gave people a realistic setting of business flourishing - which is seen in The Great Gatsby
        • Fitzgerald was once a soldier himself so has the ability to emphasise with those who fought in the war
      • Henry James was a realism writer
        • Adam Bede by George Elliot Is an example of a realism text.
        • Virginia Woolf was a famous modernist writer
      • Modernism was embedded in lots of different art forms
        • Art in the 1920's reflected the aftermath of WW1
          • Expressionism became popular in both poetry and paintings
      • Realism is observed in The Great Gatsby with the fact it is set in New York, featuring settings and events that are familiar to the audience
        • An example of realism in the novel Is the effect of the prohibition ban of alcohol in 1920-33, leading to several underground usage
          • The sale of illegal alcohol is rumoured to be the source of Jay Gatsby's income.
      • Modernism can be seen in The Great Gatsby as the perspective of the story is told from the previous rejection of industrialisation, often seen in the romantic period
    • Roaring Twenties
      • Marriage became more about companionship than maintaining the status quo.
        • Birth control was more widely available
        • After WW1, women were left with wanting a more simple and comfortable fashion
          • Zelda Fitzgerald (ex wife) was a famous flapper who was a perfect example of the flapper lifestyle during the jazz age
            • The rise of jazz music had an influence on women's fashion - dresses became less restricted to allow movement
            • Women who tried to pursue professions such as politics were given 'women's issues'
      • The music world was popularizing genres such as jazz and blues
        • The invention of cars gave more people the freedom to go wherever they wanted
        • New art movements came about in the 20's, including surrealism and art deco
          • New dances such as the Charleston, the cake walk, the black bottom, etc fascinated young people
      • Prohibition was a period when all sale of alcohol was banned
        • Women played a large role in the ban as alcohol was viewed as destructive towards marriages and families
        • As a result of the ban bootlegging, gang violence and other crimes increased
          • Both the federal and local government sturggled to enforce prohibition
        • It wasn't illegal to consume alcohol, so many wealthier members of society hoarded the alcohol they had already owned so they would not run out


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