The Great Gatsby is a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925. It depicts the lavish new lifestyle of the 1920’s. The book itself is about Jay Gatsby, a man who is utterly in love with Daisy Buchanan. His quest to attain her leads him from poverty to wealth, however, Daisy is proven unworthy of his affection as Gatsby is killed because of her actions. The novel depicts the context in which it was written, exploring ideas of disillusionment, the American Dream, gender, and the class system.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in Minnesota on September 24th 1896, and died in California on December 21st 1940. He went to Princeton University and married Zelda Sayre. He was an American author of novels and short stories, including; This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, the curious case of Benjamin Button. His stories explored themes of youth and promise along with age and despair, and many have been adapted to TV or film. Only Fitzgerald’s first novel sold well enough to support the opulent lifestyle that he and his wife adopted as New York celebrities, and so, Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories for magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers Weekly and Esquire. This opulent lifestyle and low income, along with Zelda’s medical bills and his alcoholism, meant Fitzgerald was constantly in financial trouble. He took loans from his literary agent and editor, who were both good friends of his, and this borrowing in money resulted in the ultimate severing of both friendships. It is because of this that most of Fitzgerald’s novels explore the corrosive effects of wealth and a decadent lifestyle, as it a reflection of his own life.
In 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby during the 1920’s. A period known as; the roaring twenties, the Jazz Age, the era of wonderful nonsense, the nervous generation, the prosperity decade, the golden twenties, or the crazy years. A decade that followed the First World War, in which a sense of rebellion developed as the Victorian idea of decency was considered hypocritical. It was a period of change and reform that represented the beginning of modern America. The 1920’s were marked by the urbanisation and economic boom of American society, a change in social values and trends, as well as a general feeling of discontinuity associated with a break in traditions. The pop culture of the 1920’s was characterised by innovations in fashion, radio, music, dance, film, visual art, architecture, literature, prohibition, and the large scale diffusion and use of automobiles and telephones. It saw unprecedented industrial growth, and accelerated consumer demand. Women’s fashion changed to become much more revealing, it included; knee length skirts or dresses, bobbed hair, and heavy makeup. Women who adopted these fashions were known as flappers. Flapper redefined modern womanhood, they smoked, drank and swore. Jazz became popular, with the large scale use of the radio (this is why it is often referred to as the Jazz Age). Dances like the Charleston also rose in popularity as it suited the new music. The movie industry skyrocketed, and silent films were replaced by films known as “talkies”. The media was focused on these newfound movie stars as well as other celebrities. Laws were passed and alcohol became banned (this was known as prohibition) in an attempt to preserve and impose certain cultural standards. Women gained the right to vote as well, and began to pursue both family life and careers on their own. The 1920’s was also the era of the Harlem Renaissance, which was a period of African-American literary and artistic growth. The roaring twenties ended in 1929 with the Wall Street crash, after which, the Great Depression set in.
The Great Gatsby examines the American society of the 1920’s. It is an accurate portrayal of the Jazz Age that critiques the materialism and selfish