Modernism & Intro to The Great Gatsby
Historical Context • 1914-1918 - World War I • 1920-Women gain the right to vote • 1920s • alcohol is outlawed • Falling farm prices • 1929 – Stock market crash • 1930s – Great Depression
Historical Context Until now the American dream has existed as a belief in America as a land of opportunity, progress, and individualism After WWI, many Americas fell disillusionment with the American dream Disillusionment =A feeling of disappointment, even depression, arising from the realization that something is not what it was expected or believed to be
Prohibition causes illegal alcohol trafficking. • “Gangster” image (Al Capone) • Women become independent in fashion, workplace, education. • Materialism comes into vogue. Cars become affordable and serve as status symbol. • Hedonism—pursuit of pleasure and instant gratification • Society starts to become obsessed with the “rich” The Jazz Age Prohibition comes into effect Speakeasies (illegal bars) come into vogue, esp. in New York City to revolt against religious zealous people Women gained right to vote in 1920 Production of goods goes up, so cost comes down Hollywood and entertainment industry begins to boom
Elements of modernism Sense of disillusionment and a loss of faith in American dream Rejection of sentimentality and artificiality in favor of capturing reality Emphasis on bold experimentation in style and form, reflecting the fragmentation of society Interest in the individual and the inner workings of the human mind TRAGIC HERO
F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896-1940 Coined the term “Jazz Age” The Great Gatsby – 1925 Notorious during the 1920s for his heavy drinking
Nick (Narrator) “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in the world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had” (Fitzgerald 1/1). “I’m inclined to reserve all judgments…”(Fitzgerald 1/1). “Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope” (Fitzgerald 2/1). What kind of person do you think Nick is? Why might this glimpse into his character be important?
Nick (Narrator) • “When I came back from the East last summer I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart” (Fitzgerald 2/2). • Why? • What happened last summer?
Gatsby • “Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction – Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn” (Fitzgerald 22). • Unaffected (unchanged) scorn (disgust) • Gatsby represents everything that Nick has always hated (had an unaffected scorn for). BUT – he was not a reason Nick wanted the world “at a sort of moral attention” – WHY? • Why would Nick write a book about Gatsby?
East Egg: Tom and Daisy Old Money West Egg: Gatsby and Nick New Money
Whose residences are pictured below? What details from the text support your responses? (Cite them!)
Whose residence is pictured below? What details from the text support your response? (Cite them!)
HOMEWORK: Finish reading chapter 1