The Great Gatsby: America In The 1920s

3018 words - 12 pages

Considered as the defining work of the 1920s, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published in 1925, when America was just coming out of one of the most violent wars in the nation’s history. World War 1 had taken the lives of many young people who fought and sacrificed for our country on another continent. The war left many families without fathers, sons, and husbands. The 1920s is an era filled with rich and dazzling history, where Americans experienced changes in lifestyle from music to rebellion against the United States government. Those that are born into that era grew up in a more carefree, extravagant environment that would affect their interactions with others as well as their attitudes about themselves and societal expectations. In this novel, symbols are used to represent the changing times and create a picture of this era for generations to come. The history, settings, characters, and symbols embedded in The Great Gatsby exemplify life in America during the 1920s.
Also known as the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties, the American people felt that they deserved to have some fun in order to forget the emotional toll and social scars left from the war. The Jazz Age was appropriately named due to the illegal activities and good times, which included music, parties, and flapper girls. Jazz was a new style of music that originated out of the New Orleans area, where one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time – Louis Armstrong – began his career. The energy of jazz was a very new and almost uncomfortable style for the very traditional, rigid family of the 1920s. Young people in particular seemed to enjoy this new music the most, as it made them feel carefree. The energy of jazz was symbolic of the era’s transition from a more traditional feel to a more provocative and carefree nature (Epstein 9). Some of the most popular dance styles to come out of the Jazz Era include the Charleston, the cake walk, the black bottom, and the flea hop (History.com). This was also a time of optimism and desire. Money was a major foundation of society in America. Seeing as the decade was fixated on beauty, power, and wealth, people felt they could forget about their pasts and could become anyone they wanted, as though they could become an elite member of economic or social power. Flapper girls were also a new development of lifestyle during this era. Flappers were a new image for women, ditching the old and traditional lifestyle for a new, outlandish one. Being able to cut their hair short, wear short skirts, go out dancing and drinking without a man with them, and begin to speak their minds was a huge thing. From a world where the man is the one in the house that works and the woman stays home and takes care of the home and children to partying and making more carefree and promiscuous choices in their personal lives, this was a fascinating and empowering experience for some women. Though most women certainly did not adapt the extreme...

Find Another Essay On The Great Gatsby: America in the 1920s

Gender Roles in the Roaring 1920s: An Examination of the Women of The Great Gatsby

2258 words - 9 pages option is to go through a man. When looked at side by side, the women in The Great Gatsby tell the stories of the women of the 1920s, the women of the past, and the women of the future. There are the women who acknowledge that men are in control and play into it, the women who feel social and financial pressure to be with a man, and the women who wish to break that protocol by becoming their own providers. One thing is clear, although it may have

Values and Morals of the 1920s as Reflected by the Great Gatsby

543 words - 2 pages At a glance some would say that the 1920s were one of the most radical times in the history of America. Sure, the late 60s were too but the 20s had the largest jump in trends, Values and Morals. It was now transportation age people were not confined to their homes and could now go out and socialize. This increase in mobility and the women's rights movement helped too increase social stimulus and decrease moral values. The Great Gatsby by F

Failure and the Degeneration of America in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1099 words - 4 pages   The Great Gatsby is a bold and damning social commentary of America which critiques its degeneration from a nation of infinite hope and opportunity to a place of moral destitution. The novel is set during the Roaring Twenties, an era of outrageous excesses, wild lavish parties and sadly, an era of regret and lost potential. As the audience, they take us on a journey guided and influenced by the moral voice of Nick Carraway

Materialism and Happiness in America "The great Gatsby" (Twain) era and today

1036 words - 4 pages don't think he had ever really believed in its existence before(Fitzgerald, 117).'Having lots of things is not what makes happy humans. The characters of The Great Gatsby, like many in America today, were engrossed in thepursuit of private wealth. Jay Gatsby flaunted his material possessions in order to impress Daisy, but was he happy? Even if he had lived andwon Daisy back, true fulfillment would come to them both only when they realized 'the

Prohibition in the Great Gatsby

1585 words - 6 pages The 1920s were greatly influenced by prohibition. The prohibition law restricted the manufacturing, consumption, transportation, and sale of alcohol. The law was put into effect to lower the crime and corruption rates in the United States in the 1920s. It was also said to reduce social problems and lower taxes. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald examines the negative repercussions of prohibition on the economy, characters in the Great

Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

1908 words - 8 pages show of purity on the outside, but rotten and corrupt on the inside. It's just like America during that time period.While so many items symbolize different meanings in this story, the novel is an entire symbol itself. On the surface, The Great Gatsby is a story about the thwarted love between a man and a woman. However, this book symbolizes America in the 1920s as a whole. Particularly, it's about the decline of the American dream in an era of

Women in The Great Gatsby

1648 words - 7 pages The great Gatsby gives us an accurate insight into the 1920s zeitgeist regarding the role of women in society. America was in a state of an economic boom and rapid change. Society had become less conservative after world war one. The role of women was revolutionary during this time and although women had a lot more freedom now; they were still confined to their sexist role within society; Men were still seen as the dominant gender. Scott

Moralism in The Great Gatsby

889 words - 4 pages The book, The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, deals with the issue of morals and humanity's errors. A lack of moral values and convictions within the characters of The Great Gatsby leads to their own downfall. As examples of humanity's wrongs, Fitzgerald uses the characters of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby represents the broken heart that cannot let go while Daisy gets caught in a glimpse of greatness and lacks any type of

Narratology in The Great Gatsby

1791 words - 7 pages F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby demonstrates what Marie-Laure Ryan, H. Porter Abbott and David Herman state about what narratology should be. These theorists emphasize the importance of conflict, human experience, gaps and consciousness, among many other elements, in order for a story to be considered a narrative. The Great Gatsby shows these elements throughout the book in an essential way. This makes the reader become intrigued and

Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

916 words - 4 pages Gatsby Essay Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. For example, a dove is usually used to represent peace. In the novel The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald uses a lot of symbolism to connect the characters with each other or to other objects. Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism helps advance his thematic interest in his novel of The Great Gatsby. In the Great

Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

532 words - 2 pages The Great Gatsby Symbols Throughout the book the Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, there are many examples of very simple things that have a deeper meaning or represent more than meets the eye. The book is narrated by Nick Carraway, and is about a man named Gatsby who throws huge parties where he doesn’t even make an appearance, all in an attempt to win back his lost lover Daisy who is married to Tom Buchanan. Gatsby is a big figure in

Similar Essays

Analysis Of Symbolism In The Great Gatsby And Its Representation Of 1920s America

1051 words - 5 pages The story of The Great Gatsby takes place over one summer in 1922 in Long Island. On the surface it is a love story with a tragic ending but if one looks deeper into the novel's symbols and themes, one finds that it deals with larger, more serious social and existential issues. The Great Gatsby is a symbolic criticism of 1920s America and the corruption of the American dream by material excess and moral decay.Fitzgerald portrays this decline by

Conciseness Of American Society In 1920s, “The Great Gatsby”

1837 words - 7 pages The novel by Scoot F. Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby” is a well written synopsis of 1920s societal dynamic in America. The book follows the protagonist Nick as he describes the life and society in New York. He meets a man by the name of Jay Gatsby, who lives his life around only one desire to be reunited with love of his life Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby's quest leads him from a peaceful existence to WW I, from poverty to great wealth, from

How The Great Gatsby Related To The Actual 1920s

648 words - 3 pages bribed (The Main Political and Social Challenges Facing America). These agents worked to stop the producers of liquor called moonshiners, the distributors called bootleggers, and the retail establishments called speakeasies from selling and profiting from illegal liquor. A large problem in the enforcement of the 18th amendment was doctors could prescribe “medicinal alcohol” and a bribe could easily get a bootlegger a prescription. In The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby The America

753 words - 4 pages The American dream. Everyone has different opinions on what the American dream is. Their "ultimate goal" in life. The people in The Great Gatsby think they are living that dream, but I beg to differ. The only one who I believe is living out something close to the American dream is Tom, and I will prove so. The many different characters in this book act as if they're having the time of their life and so forth. That is so only on the