The Great Gatsby- Context

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  • The Great Gatsby- Context
    • The Jazz Age
      • Pleasure- seeking lifestyle
        • A reaction to the First World War
          • Seemed to mark the end of an old era
      • The world was changing, getting faster
      • More and more cars on the road
      • Telephones allowed instant communication across large distances
      • Jazz music provided the soundtrack for the new way of life
        • It was the music for young people to dance to and party
        • Jazz music seems to have been disconnected fromits African- American origins
          • The novel shows America in the Jazz Age divided along lines of race as well as class and gender.
    • Flappers
      • This name was applied during the 1920s to young women who live far more liberated lives than their mothers or grandmothers
      • They often had their hair cut in a short, boyish bob and raised their hemlines a lot higher than the previous generation would have dared
      • They wore make- up and would dance, drink, smoke and drive in a way that some older Americans considered indecent.
      • The emphasis was essentially on greater freedom of movement and behaviour.
      • Perhaps the figure closest to a flapper in TGG is Miss Baedeker who tries to slump against Nick's shoulder at gatsby's party in Ch. 6
      • Jordan Baker fits into some of the elements of a flapper in that she is thoroughly modern- independent, a celebrity sportswoman, and yet sceptical about everything.
    • Prohibition
      • Between 1920 and 1933, the manufacture, transportation  and sale of alcohol in America was prohibited by law.
      • It was not illegal to drink it, but the law was designed to stop people having access to it.
      • Jay Gatsby made his money from bootlegging, the illicit supply of alcohol
    • Organised Crime
      • During the 1920s, American cities witnessed a great deal of violence as rival gangsters competed for power and influence
      • A high percentage of these gangsters were from families who had just arrived in America.
        • individuals who grew up in Italien, Irish and Jewish people who found that respectable routes to success were denied to them because their backgrounds were so different from people like Tom Buchanan.


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