The Great Gatsby: America in the 1920s

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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 trans... ... middle of paper ... ...characters of the novel, and they were forced to completely reconsider their lives, financial decisions, and priorities. The issues faced by the novel’s characters were real-life tragedies so many Americans went through at the end of the Roaring Twenties. The Great Gatsby captured these aspects of what the people, places, and events of the 1920s were really like before the Great Depression – the beginning of the end – took hold over the entire country. Works Cited Epstein, Dan. 20th Century Pop Culture: The Early Years to 1949. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2001. Print. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. London: Harper Press, 2012. History.com. A&E Television Network, 1996. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. . Wukovits, John F., ed. America's Decades: The 1920's. San Diego: Greehaven Press Inc., 2000. Print.
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