Research Paper 1920's

About gatsby and the 1920s
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   Magee 1 Julia Magee Mr. VanHorn English 2H 19 March 2014 The Era of the 1920’s   The 1920’s were a time of change  throughout many different fields. At the start of the 1920’s wages were increased so people had the opportunity to make more money. This got rid of the idea that only people with “Old Money” could b e rich. You could now be determined to work hard, make money, and  be rich with “New Money’. With their prosperity, people had the money to finance things that they otherwise couldn’t  afford. As a result of this, literature, music, and film had an impact on the 1920’s. Possibly the most influential author of the 1920’s, F.  Scott. Fitzgerald wrote his famous novel The Great Gatsby . He also wrote many short stories such as “ Winter Dreams ”  and “ This Side of Paradise ” . Most people accredit Fitzgerald to his notorious novel The Great Gatsby  and forget about his other smaller works. Surprisingly, Fitzgerald earned more money from his short stories than all of his novels as a whole (The Big Read). Throughout all of his writing, whether they were short stories or novels, he followed a common theme. As a result of similarity in theme and reoccurring ideas his novels and stories are labeled collectively “The Gatsby Cluster”. Inspired by Horatio Alger, Fitzgerald includes Alger’s themes in his novels. Being just as important as the literature of the prestigious time period, music emerged. With the radio becoming more popular, people had a way of listening to the music. Much of the music in the 1920’s was either Jazz or Broadway Musicals. “ Rhapsody in Blue ”  was a very   Magee 2  popular jazz piece of that time. Romantic literature and jazz music were prominent during the 1920’s as a result of increasing wealth and the influence of F. Scott. Fitzgerald. F. Scott. Fitzgerald’s writing is very idealistic especially in today’s time period. Young authors aspire to be him, but why? His works have become classics. You would think that Fitzgerald chose becoming an author as his first choice, but it was more of a hobby that turned into his fall back plan after his constant struggle of being just one step behind everything. Writing was always a passion that Fitzgerald had and he turned back to it in time of confusion. Like many young people, Fitzgerald was in love with a girl named Zelda Sayre (The Big Read). She didn’t want to be with him unless she knew that he could take care of her emotionally and financially for years to come. She informed Fitzgerald of this. Fitzgerald had attended Princeton College. As a result of his grades dropping he was kicked out from the college around 1917. Fitzgerald decided to forget school and join the army. The war was coming to an end and he was no longer needed. Once again, he was a little too late. He had to make money somehow and needed direction for his life. He decided to revise some pieces of writing that he had previously written. (The Big Read) This may have been the best decision of his life. The first novel that he published was revised countless times. No, was the common answers from publishers. Fitzgerald knew this was his dream and decided to make it come true. He worked hard and was determined to get This Side of Paradise  published. In 1920, he got his “big break” and his book was final ly published. The public was in awe over this book and it rapidly became well-liked. As a result of many people buying his book he was famous and his finances were taken care of for the time being. Many people desire to be rich and famous, but these were trivial to him. He was pleased that Zelda now trusted and felt safe with him. (The Big Read)   Magee 3 Many of Fitzgerald’s novels all shared a t heme and similarity. Most of his stories also related to his life in some vague way. More than likely, they had the theme of “Rich girls don’t marry poor boys”. This is why many were coined as the “Gatsby Cluster”. He also tried out different varieties of writing in his cluster of short stories to later use in his novels. “ For example, literary critics identify four stories from  All the Sad Young Men  —  Absolution, Winter Dreams, The Sensible Thing, and The Rich Boy  —  as the Gatsby-cluster, since he stripped and reused passages from them for his 1925 masterpiece” (The Big Read). Aside from similarity his books also shared a “hero”. These heroes wo uld start out with nothing and then end up becoming wealthy, independent, or successful. They would go from “rags to riches”.  These characters were living The American Dream. An author who lived and wrote many years before Fitzgerald was alive was Horatio Alger. Alger developed this now common theme of rags to riches in novels as well as stories. As with Fitzgerald, Alger also experienced some hard times  before he created his timeless theme. He was kicked out of the pulpit of a church and turned to writing as did Fitzgerald (Horatio Alger American Author). “In Alger’s first book  , Street Life in New York with the Bootblacks , he tells the story of how a poor shoeshine boy becomes rich ” (Horatio Alger American Author). This later emerges into his lifelong theme. Alger’s theme of “ rags to riches ”  can be found in a variety of Fitzgerald’s works. For example in “ Winter Dreams ” , Dexter Green who is a young less wealthy  boy makes money caddying at his local golf course. He works hard and opens up Laundromats which make him wealthy. Dexter rises to success and later he is golfing where he use to caddy, which was quite ironic. This shows Fitzgerald’s  and the 1920’s idea of “old money vs.  new money” as well as Alger’s of rags  to riches. Both show that you truly can make something out of nothing.   Magee 4 “ The Great Gatsby  takes place during the summer of 1922. Fitzgerald coined the phrase, The Jazz Age that same year to describe the flamboyant  —  anything goes  —  era that emerged in America after World War I” (The Jazz Age). Fitzgerald was considered “The King of Jazz Age”(   “F.Scott. Fitzgerald: The Great American Dreamer” ). After the war the United States lived in a time of rebellion and change. Women began cutting their hair shorter and wearing shorter skirts. The population began to disobey the rules of their parents’ generation. They began to create a new life for themselves. Alcohol became pronounced in the lives of Americans as well as F. Scott. Fitzgerald’s. Fitzgerald wro te about this in his novels. He gave older generations a glimpse at what was going on. He wrote about the crazy partying and drinking that took place  behind closed doors. Along with the wild parties jazz music became popular. As a result of these two things together Fitzgerald thought it was only san e to call this era of time “The Jazz Age”.  Rhapsody in Blue  was a famous jazz song of the time period. This song with its freedom expressed throughout, is closely related to “The Jazz Age”.  Rhapsody in Blue  was composed by George Gershwin. The piece was a mix between classical and jazz music. It was said that this  piece of music should portray a picture of New York City in your mind when you listen to it (In Popular Culture). This can be reaffirmed because the piece, Rhapsody in Blue, was used throughout the movie The Great Gatsby . The piece reflected the lifestyle of all during that time  period, including the characters in Fitzgerald’s  stories. Many chose to think that the 1920’s inspired Fitzgerald. After researching, I think that they each inspired each other. Without the wildness of the 1920’s, Fitzgerald wouldn’t be able to include the carefree party atmosphere in his novels. But, without Fit zgerald many wouldn’t have  been inspired to act in such careless matters. The era of the 19 20’s quickly vanished and Fitzgerald’s life did to o. He began to rapidly consume alcohol and the alcohol consumed him,


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