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

The Great Gatsby by F.S Fitzgerald epitomizes the 1920's.

Extracts from this document...


The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby by F.S Fitzgerald epitomizes the 1920's, Jazz age an era which saw a time of great economic prosperity, a time of jazz bands and parties but also a time of much corruption. There was a legal ban on intoxicating drinks and homemade alcohol from bathtubs was of poor quality so there was a huge market for organised crime. The liquor was sold around the back of drug stores or speakeasies, which was used as a front for the illegal activities. The criminals acquired the name of bootleggers and made a fortune selling alcohol, which was served at many of the richer parties. Women also enjoyed a much less restricted lifestyle with newfound freedom; they went to parties wearing skimpy, elegant, sexy and flamboyant dresses. Women were given the right to vote and it became fashionable to act masculine, hair and dresses were shortened and women began to smoke in public. A romantic image of the 1920's may have included flappers, pin stripe suits, Model T's and the Charleston but corruption and crime was rife in an era that was not as romantic as it seemed. The Great Gatsby is both a criticism of the period of social change that was the jazz age and a symbol of the development of the American social identity, including the changing beliefs of the American dream. Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby severely criticizes the Jazz Age, a period of social change that had serious ramifications for some people some good and some bad transmogrifications. ...read more.


Rather, she illustrates her own monotony with life and gives the impression that a girl can have more pleasure if she is beautiful and simplistic. Daisy herself often tries to play such a part; she conforms to the conventional social standing of American femininity in the 1920's in order to evade such tension-filled subjects as her eternal love for Gatsby. The 1920's, the Jazz Age was a time of new music, Jazz, smooth jazz and rag music were key music forms of the time. With memorable songs such as the Charleston and Swing, Swing, Swing though this music revealed many of the discriminations in America. Poor, middle class girls would go to Upper class parties such as Gatsby's, in an attempt to break into the upper class. Into material wealth and social standings that they hadn't experienced in their lives before, some would even marry purely for money, such as Daisy who's 'love' was bought with a three hundred and fifty thousand dollar pearl necklace. The 1920's were a materialistic society where religion and individuality was cast aside for the amoral pursuit of wealth. The Great Gatsby is an exploration of the American dream as it exists in a corrupt period, and it is an attempt to determine that concealed boundary that divides the reality and illusion, as stated by Bewley. The Great Gatsby is essentially a social commentary on the failure of the American dream, from the point of view that American political ideals conflict with the actual social conditions that exist. ...read more.


In addition the book seems to scrutinize how many Americans squandered their spiritual purpose and intention as material success destroyed their spiritual goals. The lives of the Buchanan's, consequently, filled with material luxuries and extravagances, and void of intentions, represents this condition, the loss of spiritual identity. Daisy's comment on p. 113 is particularly indicative of this, 'What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon?' cried Daisy, 'and the day after that, and the next thirty years?' Daisy is bored; living in luxury with no purpose leaves her spiritually and emotionally empty. She drifts through live with no purpose, no obligations, a life free of stress, work and responsibility. Which in a sense is what makes us human, the pressure and stress of everyday life gives us a sense of involvement a sense of our own identity. It is the hopes and dreams that give our lives purpose and meaning without them we are nothing, like Daisy who is empty, all gesture over substance. The Great Gatsby provides a detail image of life in the Jazz age, although a very romantic time it was an era of much corruption and crime. Fitzgerald criticizes the social changes occurring in the 1920's, the values of the people and the development of the American cultural identity. Many people in America gave up optimism, vitality, and individualism for the amoral pursuit of wealth. Being able to recognize the difference between illusion and reality can mean life or death. Gatsby who bends his illusion so much that it eventually seems really, ends up being killed which is the resolution of the novel. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.

    Even murder is no rarer. In the novel, it is bootlegging that Gatsby commits, as revealed earlier in the essay. At that time, law in the United States, spawning some kind of gangster called bootleggers, who smuggled liquor illegally, forbade the production and sale of alcoholic drinks.


    Daisy is liberated and through her Fitzgerald presents a modern young woman. One who "was spoiled, sexually liberated, self centred, fun-loving and magnetic". Fitzgerald was clearly highlighting the changing distribution of power between the sexes. The name Daisy was carefully chosen by Fitzgerald to symbolise her temperament.

  1. The great Gatsby:The Wasteland of the 1920's

    The narrator describes how five crates of oranges and lemons arrive from New York on Fridays and by Mondays all that remains are "a pyramid of pulpless halves" left to rot outside after the butler had extracted the juice. Inside, there are sumptuous buffet tables "garnished with glistening hors d'oeuvres,

  2. "In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald portrays a society in which wealth, love and social ...

    The most significant character for examining the relationship of love and money is Gatsby himself. Gatsby designs his life solely with Daisy's reaction in mind, as are his parties which are exclusively intended for her appearance. It is tragic however that all that Gatsby has created falls disapprovingly in Daisy's eye in Chapter seven.

  1. In "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald the American Dream is shown by ...

    The material wealth that Gatsby's mansion represents also forms the location for a series of lavish parties. Whilst the parties are attended by all manner of people from both East and West Egg, this is not because of his popularity among society, in fact few people who were at the

  2. Death of the American - Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman

    Willy simply can not understand that personality only provides an individual with a limited amount of opportunity. Willy doesn't achieve his goals because he doesn't realize that he can not rely on his social skills for advancement, but rather he must work hard in order to attain his dreams.

  1. the great gatsby

    Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg..." (p. 167). * F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg and The Valley of Ashes to not only demonstrate God's absence from society, but to prove that God is completely dead in the twentieth century.

  2. Discuss the significance of the Jazz Age in the Great Gatsby with reference to ...

    This shows therefore that the Jazz age had an affect on the words used because it was a time of change and non-conformity and with the use of this colloquial more Anglo-Saxon writing style Fitzgerald is showing his own personal rebellion against conformity.

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