Social and Political context: The Great Gatsby

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  • Created by: luccy51
  • Created on: 29-02-16 19:59

Social and political context 

  • Staple of English Literature - published in 1925. 
  • Fitzgerald was from an upper-middle class family. 
  •  There were some financial struggles, and he said later that he had felt like a poor boy in a rich world, reflecting his perception that his social status was inferior to that of his peers. He was certainly ambivalent about class, admiring and envying the rich and also criticising them in his writings. 
  •  The couple were engaged to be married in 1919, but she broke it off as he was neither wealthy nor famous (Zelda). 
  •  She was highly unconventional, enjoying the ‘Flapper’ lifestyle, smoking, drinking and wearing short skirts. 
  • The couple had one child together, Frances Scott ‘Scottie’, born in 1921, and Fitzgerald recorded Zelda’s words as she recovered from the birth: "I hope it’s beautiful and a fool. A beautiful little fool".

  • Just as Zelda suffered mental illness, Fitzgerald also underwent periods of depression and breakdown.
  • Alcohol, despite the restrictions of Prohibition, was a prominent feature of the ‘Roaring Twenties’ and Fitzgerald’s dependence on it was well-established by the time he was writing The Great Gatsby.
  •  Fitzgerald joined up to fight but never saw active service, which he said he regretted terribly, since peace was declared just before he was sent to fight.
  • The nineteen-storey Plaza Hotel in New York (built 1907) was considered a skyscraper at the time, and is used by Fitzgerald as the setting for the confrontation between Tom, Daisy and Gatsby, which leads directly to traged.
  • The cars in 


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