The Great Gatsby. . She thinks that she deserves to be with Tom whose money, influence, and power provide answers to her (Mytle) problems of poverty. (9.146). Gatsbyis now seen as both a product of and a record of the 1920s. In contrast, the old aristocracy possesses grace, taste, subtlety, and elegance, epitomized by the Buchanans tasteful home and the flowing white dresses of Daisy and Jordan Baker. They were careless people, Tom and Daisythey smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. Contact us Similarly, modernism writers experimented with form and style rather than sticking with traditional forms of prose and poetry. As Fitzgerald saw it (and as Nick explains in Chapter 9), the American dream was originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. A+ Student Essay: The Automobile as a Symbol in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby Background. The wealthiest characters own cars and use them to commute between Manhattanand Long Island. Thinking about indulging in a little materialism yourself al Gatsby? Detroit: Gale, 2007. Myrtle is obsessed with shows of wealth, from her outfits, to insisting on a specific cab, to her apartment's decoration, complete with scenes of Versailles on the overly-large furniture: "The living room was crowded to the doors with a set of tapestried furniture entirely too large for it so that to move about was to stumble continually over scenes of ladies swinging in the gardens of Versailles" (2.51). What Does The Great Gatsbys Ending Mean? One of the rumors about Gatsby is that he is involved in a bootlegging pipeline of alcohol from Canada - this is a reference to a real-life scandal about one of the places where illegal alcohol was coming from! and events that occur in the novels plot. ), happiness, or family. . This combination of restlessness and resentment puts them on the path to the tragedy at the end of the book. Why is Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby a Satire? It contains thousands of paper examples on a wide variety of topics, all donated by helpful students. Materialism led to the increased corruption and breakage of the law at will among the rich in pursuit of money. However, that was my fault, for he was one of those who used to sneer most bitterly at Gatsby on the courage of Gatsby's liquor and I should have known better than to call him" (9.69). You can connect modernism withthe novel's descriptions of East Egg and West Egg extravagance. Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby in the Roaring Twenties, an era largely influenced by gaudiness, independence, and corruptness, which is immediately reflected in the central characters. The Great Gatsby reflects the emergence of a culture of increased consumerism that is driven by increased economic prosperity. (3.1-3.6). These gardeners cleaned the leftovers of the products that had been consumed during Gatsbys parties that were dominated by haphazard expenses. No one comes due to close personal friendship with Jay. Anne Marie Hacht. These comments might seem a bit odd, given that Nick admits to coming from money himself: "My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this middle-western city for three generations" (1.5). Meyer Wolfsheim and Gatsbys fortune symbolize the rise of organized crime and bootlegging. Nick's connection to Daisy in turn makes him attractive to Gatsby. In 1920s, this figure rose to more than 75 percent. Daisy's decision illustrates how few choices many women had during that timespecifically, that marrying and having children was seen as the main role any woman, but especially a wealthy woman, should fulfill. In fact, during Chapter 8 when we finally get a fuller recap of Daisy and Gatsby's early relationship, Nick notes that "It excited [Gatsby] too that many men had already loved Daisyit increased her value in his eyes" (8.10). Historical Context Essay: The Great Gatsby and the Jazz Age, Literary Context Essay: Modernism & Realism in The Great Gatsby. Similar to other characters in The Great Gatsby, she has an intense greed for money (Leader 13). One of the major topics explored in The Great Gatsby is the sociology of wealth, specifically, how the newly minted millionaires of the 1920s differ from and relate to the old aristocracy of the countrys richest families. After all, "People were not invitedthey went there" (3.7). Ask questions; get answers. You can also compare Tom and Daisy's actions and outcomes to other characters to help make your pointMyrtle and Gatsby both contribute to the conflict by participating in affairs with Tom and Daisy, but obviously, Myrtle and Gatsby don't get to "retreat into their money," they both end up dead. (See our article on this novel's publication and reception history for more.). Unfortunately, with regard to The Great Gatsby, this dream dwindled, as materialism, consumerism, and the culture of loosening social morals became the order of the day in the 1920s America. This marked a shift both in how black culture was understood and appreciated by the rest of the country and in how womens rights were progressing, as well discuss in the next sections. In the era of writing The Great Gatsby (1920s), America had experienced an immense economic growth. To get you started, here is a sample of some of Nick's comments on money and the wealthy, though there are certainly more to be found: "Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reactionGatsby who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn." As such, the Great Gatsby era is the period in 20th century U.S. history nicknamed both the "Roaring 20s" and the "Jazz Age." The first nickname points to America's post-WWI economic prosperity and the country's greater influence abroad. Cultural Impact of The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, written in 1925, depicts a portion of Nick Carraway's life characterized by the time he is influenced by the mysterious Jay Gatsby and his extensive pursuit of his former flame and Nick's cousin, Daisy Buchanan. By signing up you agree to our terms and privacy policy. Only the most affluent couple pulls through the events that conclude the book. Gatsbys dream is ruined by the unworthiness of its object, just as the American dream in the 1920s is ruined by the unworthiness of its objectmoney and pleasure. Download it for free now: hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, '688715d6-bf92-47d7-8526-4c53d1f5fe7d', {"useNewLoader":"true","region":"na1"}); hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, '03a85984-6dfd-4a19-93c8-5f46091f5e2b', {"useNewLoader":"true","region":"na1"}); Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. How does Tom find out about the affair between Gatsby and Daisy? The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points, How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. A person from any social background could, potentially, make a fortune, but the American aristocracyfamilies with old wealthscorned the newly rich industrialists and speculators. It would help your argument to talk about the sudden skyrocketing prevalence of cars on the road in the 1920s, connecting them to increased danger, status symbol consumerism, and modern life. We're using this system since there are many editions of Gatsby, so using page numbers would only work for students with our copy of the book. "Her voice is full of money," he said suddenly. Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here: PrepScholar 2013-2018. Jordan does not understand the concerns of the need to work hard and genuinely. In The Great Gatsby, Scott Fitzgerald documents these changes through an in-depth exploration of cultural changes such as the rise in consumerism, materialism, greed for wealth, and the culture of loosening morals in the 1920s American society. Don't leave your college application to chance. creating and saving your own notes as you read. Looking for other literary guides? "American Culture in the Novel "The Great Gatsby"." (one code per order). Daisy is coercive and manipulative. (2022) 'American Culture in the Novel "The Great Gatsby"'. Gatsby, like a peacock showing off its many-colored tail, flaunts his wealth to Daisy by showing off his many-colored shirts. The values totally changed instead of striving for equality, people - just wanted to get as rich as they could. was a self-made man, Gatsby acquired a vast amount of wealth and fortune with perseverance and a fixed purpose in mind. On the surface, The Great Gatsby is a story of the thwarted love between a man and a woman. Another post-WWI developmentwas the Harlem Renaissance, acultural, social, and artistic flowering among African Americans that took place in Harlem, NY, during the 1920s. So the American Dream, which in the first half of the book seems attainable based on Gatsby's wealth and success, reveals itself to be a hollow goal. Some of the rumors swirling around Gatsby point to how fresh the war was in everyone's mind (that he was a German spy during the war, or that he is related to Kaiser Wilhelm, who ruled Germany during the war). At the beginning of the novel they move to fashionable East Egg, after moving around between "wherever people played polo and were rich together," and are able to very quickly pick up and leave at the end of the book after the murders, thanks to the protection their money provides (1.17). These shared ideals include a notion of freedom that ensures all Americans the possibility of upward social mobility, as long as they work for it. to reacquaint himself with Daisy through massive parties instead prove to be areas where those yearning for liquor could obtain their desired alcohol with little to no regard toward their host; this is exemplified in the fact that Owl Eyes is the only character other than Nick to attend both Gatsbys lavish parties and his funeral. This pessimism is also reflected in the fates of Myrtle and George, who are both trying to increase their wealth and status in America, but end up dead by the end of the novel. Literary Themes for Students. The sheer number of the party participants implies that the 1920s American culture was characterized by indiscriminate spending in an increasing number of products that were availed for sale by the rising manufacturing capacity of the nation. Most suppliers of alcohol during Prohibition were highly esteemed since one who could live on the edge and without restraint was admired (The Great Gatsby Literature 151). See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Sometimes it can end up there. Every character in The Great Gatsby draws inspiration from the American Dreams promise of wealth and prosperity. Daisy herself is explicitly connected with money here, which allows the reader to see Gatsby's desire for her as desire for wealth, money, and status more generally. New York, NY: Institute of American History, 2005. He gets wrapped up in Gatsby's dreams and his cousin's difficult marriage, all while learning about the pitfalls of wealth and the truth of the American dream. Societally, divorce became more common. Before the end of 1930, 12 million homes in the US had already bought radio cassettes while the numbers of those who were connected with telephones increased by 50 percent (10.5 million in 1915 to more than 20 million by the end of 1930) (Scherer and Ross 93). World War I dramatically affected the United States in the 1920s (and, of course, shaped much of the 20th century all over the world as well). A close look at these two distinct societies gives an image of a future fictional American society culture, which is free from corruption and largely not driven by individualism. The characters Fitzgerald portrays represent distinct social groups who ultimately face their own struggles, demonstrating how uncertain the culture of the 1920s really was. The book is narrated by Nick Carraway, who recounts the events of the summer of . Increased availability of products for purchasing in the free market led to the widening of the gaps between people of different social economic classes. She indeed admires East Eggs people with mega envy together with intense animosity. Unlike Jordan, Mytle possesses little material items. What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For? Because he creates characters that personify the American Dream, juxtaposes western and eastern American cultures, incorporates examples of law breaking under Prohibition, and depicts the corruption of the wealthy, Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby as a reflection of Americas culture in the early twentieth century by highlighting the cultures successes and failures. You should know about WWI (and its aftermath) because: The war and its devastating after-effects, particularly in Europe, fed into the creation of a new artistic movement: modernism. He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. The outcome of these cultures was the decaying American dream. Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score, How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League, Is the ACT easier than the SAT? The smaller European powers were forced into the war as well, based on whatever alliances they had made in the past. Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? In Nicks mind, the ability to create meaningful symbols constitutes a central component of the American dream, as early Americans invested their new nation with their own ideals and values. Did you know you can highlight text to take a note? However, even though Gatsby succeeds in acquiring wealth, he is never accepted by the upper class. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at In contrast to Tom and Daisy's expensive but not overly gaudy mansion, and the small dinner party Nick attends there in Chapter 1, everything about Gatsby's new wealth is over-the-top and showy, from the crates of oranges brought in and juiced one-by-one by a butler to the full orchestra. Writers are products of their time, so knowing what they would have assumed to be true makes reading their work richer. 20% Characters such as George and Toms wives exemplify the rebellion that is characterized by dwindling moral standards. When Nick tells Gatsby that you can't repeat the past, Gatsby says "Why of course you can!"