• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

By what methods does Fitzgerald present the Jazz Age Society

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Natasha Hunter ?By what methods does Fitzgerald present the Jazz Age Society?s preoccupation with wealth and materialism?? The ?Great Gatsby? was published in 1925 and was set in the ?Roaring Twenties?. This was a glamorous decade marked by cultural, artistic and social developments, but it was brought to an end by the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which triggered the Great Depression of the 1930s. In the 1920s, America became very prosperous as the country recovered from World War I. There was a policy of Prohibition. This meant that alcohol was illegal, but the continued demand meant there was a lot of money to be made from bootlegging. It was a time of social change; the younger generation started to rebel against tradition. For many people, and particularly women, the war provided new experiences and freedom. After the war, there was a strong desire to try new and exciting things and to break from tradition. Jazz music became popular because it was more energetic than earlier music styles. Fitzgerald coined the term ?Jazz Age?. Flappers began to challenge traditional gender roles. Flappers were women who behaved in a way that was thought to be inappropriate by the older generation; they drank, smoked and wore revealing clothing. Fitzgerald sets ?The Great Gatsby? in an altered version of Long Island and Manhattan. Great Neck and Manhasset Neck become East and West Eggs, and the large landfill site Flushing is renamed the ?valley of ashes?. ...read more.

Middle

For example, Gatsby owns a beach, motor-boats and a Rolls-Royce and his parties are full of ?faces and voices and colour?. However, this society is contrasted with the poverty of those living near to the valley of ashes. The location of the valley of ashes between the wealthy Egg communities and New York makes the contrast stronger. There is also a constant sense that the glamorous lives of the upper classes are essentially meaningless; beneath the surface, everyone is bored because they have no purpose; Daisy seems to realise this when she asks what they should do ?this afternoon?and they day after that, and the next thirty years??. Many friendships appear superficial. For example, Gatsby?s parties are full of ?enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other?s names?. This shows that the society is full of pretence and loneliness. Many of Gatsby?s guests had tragic fates. For example, ?drowned?, ?strangled his wife?, ?killed himself?. This reinforces the message that behind the light-hearted partying, much of society was deeply unhappy. Fitzgerald?s portrayal invites the reader to be critical of the character?s empty, materialistic lives while simultaneously making those lives seem exciting and beautiful. This reflects his own attitude towards wealth. The characters are defined by their relationship with money; it affects how they act, how they see themselves and how others see them; Nick is confused about how to respond to wealth and decadence. ...read more.

Conclusion

Fitzgerald thought that the ?Jazz Age? was hypocritical and this is reflected by Tom?s behaviour; he is appalled when he learns of Daisy?s affair with Gatsby, but he has lots of affairs himself. He criticises Gatsby for ?sneering at family life?, but ?was God knows where? when his daughter was born. He also criticises Gatsby for knowing criminals and for being a bootlegger, but Tom also knows criminals and he likes to drink, which shows that he doesn?t follow the prohibition laws either. He sets a high moral standard for other people, such as Gatsby, but has no morals himself. Nick notes that he moves ?from libertine to prig? to suit his needs. Tom?s wealth and sense of superiority makes him ?careless? and uncaring. Nick summarises Tom and Daisy?s behaviour when he says ?they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money?and let other people clean up the mess??. They run away from their problems and never face the consequences. He acts as a foil to Gatsby; Gatsby is loyal, sensitive and caring whilst Tom is more or less the opposite. For example, he only seems to start caring for Daisy when he sees he could lose her. This suggests his reaction is as much about pride and possessiveness as about actually caring for her. The fact that Daisy chooses Tom over Gatsby highlights the shallow and materialistic nature of the ?Jazz Age? society. Like Daisy, Tom is materialistic; he has to appear to have the best of everything. For example, he was married with ?more pomp and circumstance than Louisville ever knew?. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level F. Scott Fitzgerald section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How do Scott Fitzgerald and Hunter S thompson portray the villain in 'Fear and ...

    3 star(s)

    Particularly Jay Gatsby, a man who idolises wealth and is in this respect like Fitzgerald himself. It can be seen that one of the true villains in both of these novels is the lifestyle itself that these characters seem compelled to achieve.

  2. The significant roles of Tom and Daisy in the Great Gatsby

    The quotation also give an insight into the sadness behind Daisy's charms and it suggests her desperation for romance. This quote was influenced by Keats's Ode of the Nightingale. As well as the Nightingale representing romance it has been said that it also symbolises tragedy.

  1. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald captures both the disillusionment of post-war America and the ...

    However, despite the novel being a clear depiction of America during the 1920s, the novel is not just about social themes.

  2. Three characters in The Great Gatsby and the theme of obsession

    He never actually admitted that he'd lost but deep down he knew. He expected Daisy to choose him and couldn't accept any other response.

  1. Gatsby's world is corrupt but ultimately glamorous. How do you respond to this statement?

    not for himself but for Daisy because she is his dream, he needs to satisfy her materialism to rekindle his romance from ?five years? previously.

  2. The American Dream is what drives the characters in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

    As they settled with these goals in mind, they strived and created what is America today. Fitzgerald describes the corruption as being the modernization of the beauties of what the settlers had seen before. Remember that accident which involved Daisy and Myrtle, Myrtle?s left breast had been torn off, this was regarded as Myrtle?s ?greatest achievement?.

  1. The Great Gatsby has been described as a definitive record of the glamorous side ...

    At first Gatsby?s parties seem magical, as Gatsby?s ?blue gardens were alive with the whispering and the champagne and the stars.? The ?floating rounds of cocktails permeated the garden? and the ?air was alive with chatter and laughter,? everybody seemed to be having a fantastic time.

  2. Gatsby, in The Great Gatsby, dedicates his life to finding his lost love, Daisy, ...

    Gatsby has the story of Daisy, being his long, lost love, told to Nick. Afterwards, Gatsby wonders if Nick would invite Daisy over for some tea, without Daisy knowing the real reason, so Gatsby and her could see each other once again, after ??Five years next November? (88).? Daisy arrives

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work