The Great Gatsby - Why do we read it? (Political Influence (fitzgerald…
The Great Gatsby - Why do we read it?
The author uses the setting of Long Island and NY to distinguish between the types of people
The Eggs are a stellar contrast of the ''Valley of Ashes''; a symbolic place that stands for moral/social decay
Living in West Egg (new money) = new to money and are more innocent as material and greed hasn't been shunned upon yet
Living in East Egg (old money) = people that come from wealthy families
the contrast serves as Fitzgerald's social commentary on the corruption of the American Dream
Not-so-subtle hierarchy is present to compare characters
the physical difference between the locations is same as the social difference
the first world war ended in 1918
the generation of the 20's became disillusioned due to the war = known as "the lost generation".
technological advancements made...tanks, aircraft carriers and german uboats.
radios and phonographs changed entertainment forever
end of the first world war, the automobile came out
destruction of european economies left the US as the only major industrial nation
cheap and readily available energy sources (coal) made expansion possible
consumerism came to be throughout these major industries
the great depression hits (1929/39)
Fitzgerald implies excesses and indulgences in the 1920's may have played a key role in causing the Great Depression
flapper movement: introduced a new type of woman; age-old conventions regarding woman were broken
symbolically, woman cut their hair short into a boyish bob and shorter dresses/skirts were introduced.
in the novel, "flappers" were seen as the higher-class women. in gatsby's parties, these women were present and played a huge role in the setting
the "white" race had the ideology that their race was far superior than all the coloured races
Tom Buchanan is an example of someone who looked down upon the other races
racism is prominent and is deemed as acceptable
the jazz age became highly promoted due to recent inventions.
the "Charleston" = a popular dance of the 20's. it consisted of a rapid pace and complex hand movements
jazz music = highly improvised and wild; it broke the conventional rule of music of the past.
author references indirectly that due to individual arrogance and desire, little to no attention is given to political issues of the time
fitzgerald incorporates his own interpretation of politics
in the book (chapter one) Tom mentions of Lothrop Stoddard's book
political innuendo is present on the part of Fitzgerald since he himself was a liberal and disapproved of Stoddard's writings
generic role expectations of characters and their motives can be seen as political
an example is Daisy staying with Tom despite his unfaithfulness; her decisions are driven by society's perception
her pressures are purely impersonal and are related to typical, shared views on gender and wealth
illegal gambling present
Black Sox Scandal - members of the Chicago Sox were found accepting bribes to throw baseball's world series
the roaring 20's = a decade of madcap behaviour and materialism.
society was lacking in idealism and vision. sense of alienation was present.
arrogance and elitism is present. author is trying to criticize behaviour of the rich which is established as a major societal issue
brand new automobile = status symbol. advertising helped sell the product
19th amendment = woman granted the right to vote in the US
prohibition = banned the public sale of alcoholic beverages from 1919 until its appeal in 1933.
"bootlegging" resulted from this ban = the illegal sale of alcohol.
speak-easies, nightclubs and taverns were often raided. gangsters made illegal money due to distribution of alcohol
speakeasies expanded into clubs featuring musicians + dancers.
Gatsby participated in the art of bootlegging; he associated himself with gangsters like Wolfsheim
reason for prohibition = excessive alcoholism resulted in men prioritizing alcohol over families
Society and Class
the amount of wealth you have puts you in either one of the social classes
author gives evidence that you are who you're born; attempting to change classes leads to tragedy
wealth means authority and power
having power means nothing can stop you which is exactly the case when it comes to the elite in the novel
women in society = no matter how much time passes, women will always be seen as inferior to men
Daisy is an example, she wants her daughter to be like a "fool"
limitations are present
race and class go hand in hand; direct association
higher class consisted of mainly whites and lower class of blacks (servants)
the only element not restricted to one class is unhappiness. members of all classes are equally unhappy
direct correlation between carelessness in the wealthy to being unhappy
wealthy are careless as they can restore the lost. for them, consequences aren't a barrier
different types of "love" present in novel
Tom and Daisy; relationship based on luxury and materialism
their relationship was seen as the most "socially acceptable"
Gatsby's image of Daisy that left Gatsby dissapointed
Tom and Myrtle; short-term relationship based on sex
George and Myrtle; feelings of love weren't reciprocated
in the 20's, people married inside their social classes
social classes worked similar to boundaries
these relationships are unstable, unhappy and violent
The American Dream
variety of literary devices used by author to represent the American Dream
an example is the green light used at the end of Gatsby's dock = symbolizes Gatsby's inspiration in "achieving" a life with Daisy; the ultimate unattainable dream
ironic because when Gatsby was poor, Daisy didn't marry him. he builds himself out of virtually nothing for Daisy yet she didn't seem to care
geography is used as a way to depict the dream; through West and East Egg
people with "new money" are try ing to fit in materialistically ; it's as if they don't know what to do with their money
people with "old money" in a sense, have always had money; however, they are no better than th e rest due to their deceitful ways
valley of ashes = shows the corruption of society
a place that also represents the carelessness of the wealthy ; wealthy have acquired what they want and are able to toss the "waste"
there is evident disapproval of excesses which were the result of pursuing the "dream"