Parties, Prohibition, alcohol, and wealth are common aspects that come to mind when thinking about the Roaring 20s. The end of World War I brought about an aura of discovery and desire. Many women became more provocative in their clothing and makeup. These women were known by the term “Flappers.” Authors, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, began emerging during this time which was also known as “the Jazz Age” (“Roaring Twenties”). The Great Gatsby, considered as one of Fitzgerald’s most famous works, allowed him to portray not only aspects of the Jazz Age, but also the American Dream of many individuals during the 1920s.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, seen as “bright, handsome, and ambitious,” was born in 1896 to a family with little money in Minnesota. His writing career began at age 13 when one of his works was published in his school paper (F. Scott Fitzgerald Biography). Fitzgerald eventually dropped out of school and decided to join the United States Army. “Afraid that he might die in World War I with his literary dreams unfilled,” Fitzgerald wrote a novel that eventually was rejected by a publisher. However, the publisher “encouraged Fitzgerald to submit more work in the future” (F. Scott Fitzgerald Biography). This motivation allowed him to not give up and keep writing.
Inspiration also came in the form of a young woman named Zelda. Even though both Fitzgerald and Zelda loved each other, Fitzgerald was poor and did not receive approval from Zelda’s parents. When he proposed to her in 1919, she sadly rejected him. However, Zelda eventually agreed to his marriage proposal when his newly written novel, The Side of Paradise, was accepted by publishers (Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald).
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The Great Gatsby, considered as one of Fitzgerald’s most famous works, allowed him to portray not only aspects of the Jazz Age, but also the American Dream of many individuals during the 1920s. The freedom and recklessness of many people during the Roaring 20s inspired Fitzgerald to create the characters of his novel. In turn, the characters in The Great Gatsby portrayed the newly transformed American Dream, which was a dramatically different culture than that prior to World War I. From happiness and success to materialism and wealth, many critics viewed the novel as a warning for what this lifestyle may lead to. However, many also saw it as an appreciation of wealth and success. Regardless of how it is viewed, The Great Gatsby depicted how individuals were becoming more independent and ultimately striving to achieve the American Dream.
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