Fitzgerald the Great Gatsby, Roaring 20s
Category : Articles
The 1920??™s was a time of financial prosperity and social revolution. It was otherwise named the Roaring 20??™s, a name for the innovation of the arts; jazz, art deco, dance, and literature. The arts were not the only innovations however; America was also experiencing social transformation that shaped the modern America of today. At the advent of the 1920??™s America had successfully transitioned from a wartime economy to a peacetime economy allowing the nation to prosper and encouraging opportunities for change. If I was to choose a book that best reflected the time period of its development, it would be The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald, by manipulating the setting, details, personalities, and traits of the characters, emulated the social standings and the increase of working-class women during the Roaring 20??™s.
Even with all the new innovations in the arts, the technology, and the business industries, the social changes was one of the most prominent innovations coming out of the Roaring 20??™s, although, the social changes did get help from the expansion of technology. The discovery of electricity, the telegraph, and most profoundly the automobiles, finally gave humans the ability to receive news and travel from distant areas, through the phone, and the TV. As a result of all of these discoveries, America was entering an era of Consumerism; it became very popular and appealing to show off one??™s wealth and ???class??? through superfluous material things: like cars, pets, houses, and mostly clothe. During this time, this was especially common among the richer people; many ladies even had multiple dresses for different immaterial occasions like breakfast and dinner. This idea was best played by Myrtle Wilson who ???changed her dress to a brown figured muslin??? to go out then who ???changed??¦ her costume??¦ attired in an elaborate afternoon dress…??? for the evening. Even though Myrtle is more of the lower class living in an apartment with a ???small living-room, a small dining-room, a small bedroom??¦??? and whose money comes from what is an ???unprosperous and bare??? car repair shop, because of her animosity for her current life and the desire for wealth, she has developed the mentality of rich person, which includes the excessive spending and even the ???impressive hauteur???. She best plays the consumerism age during the 1920??™s.
As a response to Consumerism, the nation??™s economy as a whole became affluent and profuse which in turn helps its residence. Some of those who were initially positioned lower on the social hierarchy were offered a chance to move up more into the middle class area if not higher. Many people were able to become wealthy through perseverance and hard work, and the nation as a whole benefitted from this success. Using the settings, personalities, traits, and lifestyles of the characters, Fitzgerald described this social standing as a major theme of his book.
His novel mainly takes place on the land masses: West Egg, East Egg, and The Valley of Ashes. West Egg ???the less fashionable of the two??? resided Nick and Gatsby whose house or rather mansion ???was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville???. ???Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg??? resided Daisy and Tom whose house was an ???elaborate??¦cheerful red-and- white Georgian Colonial mansion???. Finally, the Valley Of Ashes was a ???farm where ashes grow??¦along an invisible track??? where the only buildings seen were ???unprosperous and bare???. West Egg could be considered as the new money; those who??™ve newly obtained their wealth through their work and perseverance. This is seen by the reader when Fitzgerald states that West Egg is the less fashionable of the two and that it possesses architectural structures that attempt to ???imitate??? the taste of the aristocrats. Furthermore, East Egg could be considered as the old money; those who were born into their wealth. This is seen by the reader when Fitzgerald states that East Egg is the more fashionable, calls it the white palaces which could be associated with kings and emperors, and then describing the house as a Georgian Colonial mansion, maybe deriving from the colonial times (old times). Then finally the Valley of Ashes could be associated with the lower class perspective. It is known when it is stated that it is ???unprosperous and bare???. Knowing the connotation of the settings we can now relate real concepts during the 1920??™s with those that would correspond with the region Fitzgerald writes. During the 1920??™s, America was finally beginning to be the dominant financial power of the world due to its economic flourish. Knowing that, on a larger scale, West Egg with the word ???west??? could represent the west or America. America through it rigorous hard work and perseverance had finally arrived at its time. It was now becoming the richest power in the world, was also beginning to experience more people assimilating into higher class previously unknown to them before, and imitating what they know and think the wealthy should look like using ???facts??? they know about the wealthy. Analogously, East Egg could represent the east or Europe. Europe has always been an existing power throughout the advancement of humankind and thus, able to represent the old money. Then Valley of Ashes could represent those who did not prosper at all or even suffered coming out of the Roaring 20??™s. Two types of occupations that did not benefit or upright failed during this time were the farmers and the railroads. The description of the Valley of Ashes could be seen as appropriate now; a ???farm where ashes grow??¦ along an invisible track???. The ???courteous bay??? could also be the Atlantic Ocean that serves as the gap that separated the old money and the new money??™s lifestyles and traits.
The lifestyle and traits of those who reside on the land masses also help portray the social standings during this time period. Gatsby holds the ideal identity of new money; his parties which were wild and lush ???went like moths among the whispering and the champagne and the stars??? suggested that that the newer money is more characterized by its wild extravagance. ???No wasting time at Shafters, No more smoking or chewing, Read one improving book??¦, save $3.00 per week, Be better to parents.??? This list was explaining details of Gatsby??™s daily agenda and hard work to reinvent himself for his dreams. Tom and Daisy are characterized by their old money for their stiff luxury. ???His family were enormously wealthy-even in college his??¦ unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together..??? Tom and Daisy their whole life have been flitting anywhere they desire to go with no real substance in their life beyond refining their reputation and spending money. The Wilson??™s who live on the Valley of Ashes are the lower class conditions. Myrtle as said earlier hates her current life and desire to be higher in the social hierarchy. Fitzgerald suggests that the both higher classes, the new and the old, are callous and impassive to those who are of the lower classes. Tom, slapping him jovially on the shoulder. ???How??™s business??? Tom is teasing Wilson because Tom feels superior than he is. Then the ???death car??¦ didn??™t stop; it came out of the gathering darkenss??? best shows the indifference the higher class exhibits on the lower class. Gatsby and Daisy ran over Myrtle Wilson without even stopping or staggering. They show the callous and tyranny they played on the lower classes.
With all of the new changes in the social department the 1920??™s also fomented the increasing role of women. Women were finally able to obtain financial independence and social mobility. Moreover, Fitzgerald best parallels this concept by controlling the characteristics Jordan. For an example, you could even analysis the name Fitzgerald makes for her, Jordan. When first reading the book and basically skimming through chapter 1, honestly, I thought that Jordan Baker was a man because of her masculine name. However, Fitzgerald intentionally gave her that name to depict women??™s role during the 1920??™s. Jordan??™s name is the most masculine name throughout the whole book, second to Tom Buchanan, which could also suggest that men were still the dominant sex. Even though this is true, the name Jordan still suggests the increasing female working roles at factories, offices, colleges, and even sports. This brings us to our second characteristic about Ms. Baker. Ms. Baker was a very famous and successful golf player ???because she was a golf champion, and everyone knew her name.” This shows Jordan??™s financial independence without a spouse and her social stature in her society.
So as it is Fitzgerald??™s work of the Great Gatsby gives us a glimpse of what it was like during the 1920??™s. He has shown us the change in the women society during the 1920??™s as well as the prominent changes in our social class. I bet your tired of me saying social class. I wish I could talk more about other concepts of the roaring 20??™s Fitzgerald depicts in his book but concerning time this is where I??™ll stop my presentation. Any questions