• 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)

    This is why they are constantly under the influence, seeking a way to prolong this illusion for as long as possible. The American Dream is the belief in the freedom that allows people of the United States to pursue their goals through hard work and free will.

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

    She'd loved Gatsby but didn't have the patience to wait for him. She was content to have an affair with Gatsby but still be married to Tom. She didn't want to make a decision. She was forced to make one and her choice devastated Gatsby.

  1. Great Gatsby Chapter 9 notes

    It does not really matter, for Fitzgerald she represents the anonymity and lack of substance of the typical 1920s female. She is suppressed by the superiority of her male counterpart who uses her to satisfy and fulfil sexual desire. The fact that the woman is drunk and therefore lacks control

  2. To what extent and in what ways is Fitzgerald purely critical of Gatsby?

    The first quote shows how Gatsby links Daisy with money in his mind, and as a result of this Fitzgerald makes the reader question whether it is really Daisy he wants or if it is the social status that she represents to him.

  1. Great Gatsby, chapter eight essay

    Firstly, in chapter eight Fitzgerald uses two types of narrative voices. Fitzgerald uses the narrative voice to tell us about Gatsby's last hours and also tell the readers about Gatsby and Daisy's past. He does this by manipulating the narrative voice throughout chapter eight.

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

    A myrtle plant is a beautiful climbing plant however, due to her surroundings Myrtle is not allowed to realise her impossible dream therefore, Myrtle is as lifeless as her husband. Fitzgerald contradicts the idea that America is the land of the 'free' through the characters of Tom and Daisy who both live in East.

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

    This quote talks about Gatsby's daily agenda and how in the earlier days he upheld the pure American Dream "No wasting time at Shafters, No more smoking or chewing, Read one improving book or magazine per week, Save $3.00 per week, Be better to parents" (page 181- 182).

  2. The Great Gatsby: Different Kinds of Love

    Daisy appears to want to return to Gatsby, ?..There were romantic possibilities totally absent from her world...? perhaps an indication he has reignited her feelings for him. Her relationship with Tom is clearly devoid of ?romantic possibilities?. It is, it seems, founded on much more pragmatic, materialistic values.

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