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Context of The Great Gatsby

Context of The Great Gatsby

Author: Alexander Best
  1. Understand the dominant social influences in the 1920's. 
  2. Explain the social changes underway for TGG
  3. Fitzgerald's thematic and philosophical motivations in writing TGG.  

This is a mirror of, and I claim no authorship.  Credit is given to Valeri Arbizu for the original version. 

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Readings about The Great Gatsby

Please read any SIX of the below 10 readings. Take notes and respond in the Google Doc assignment given to you. 

Answer the questions as you read each text, not at the end! Please included titles!

1.     F. Scott Fitzgerald

Read the biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald. What are the major influences on his life and writing?

2.     World War I

o   After the war ended, the economy skyrocketed, making it possible for people to spend more time and money on leisure activities. Review this website and list three major innovations in the 1920's.  

o   After the War: What were the dominant postwar American attitudes and the major movements of the 1920's. Read about the attitudes of the "Lost Generation" and the "Prosperity & Consumerism" movement.

3.     19th Amendment

What right did women gain from the passage of the 19th Amendment?

4.     The Roaring Twenties

List three major events that occurred in 1922 (the year in which the novel is set).

5.     18th Amendment

o   What exactly does the amendment abolish? What was the result?

o   18th Amendment

o   Wikipedia: Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

6.     Prohibition

o   What is a “Speakeasy”? Based on information you have already collected from previous questions, why do you think Speakeasies popped up across the country?

o   Wikipedia: Speakeasy

o   Speakeasy photos

7.     Organized Crime and Arnold Rothstein

o   What's in a name?: List three elements of Rothstein's character that interest you. Explain.

The Organizer: Read the quotes at the beginning of this site. What is his primary occupation? What are his "sidejobs"?

8.     Flappers

o   Read the first five paragraphs of the article about "Flapper Jane." According to the author, what are the essential elements of being a true flapper?

o   After reading the article, look at the selected photos of Louise Brooks. Does she fit the "Flapper" profile as proposed by the author of "Flapper Jane"? Why or why not?

o   Read Dorothy Parker's poem "The Flapper." Do you think Ms. Parker approves or disapproves of Flappers? Explain.

9.     Automobiles

o   The Rise of Automobiles. Why were cars considered "the most important catalyst for social change in the 1920's"?

o   Photos of 1920's era automobiles.

o   Gatsby Coachworks: Reproductions of 1920's era automobiles. The white and gold car is similar to what Jay Gatsby would have driven.

10.  1920's Slang

o   Read some 1920's slang terms.

o   List 5 slang words or phrases and definitions from this site and write them down.  Why did you choose these terms?


The Roaring 20's

Then, watch this video and summarize what you think are the three most important elements that contributed to the society of the 1920's.

(Everyone must complete this.)