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The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald


Used with gratitude from the Hinsdale Central Reading Lab. The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great American 1920s Novel Introduction The Great Gatsby deals ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald
Used with gratitude from the Hinsdale Central
Reading Lab.
  • The Great American 1920s Novel

  • The Great Gatsby deals with the tumultuous period
    of the 1920s Jazz Age.
  • It was a commercial and critical success and made
    him one of the most prominent literary figures of
    the time (and now!)
  • From gangsters to Prohibition to contemporary
    bizarre social customs, Fitzgeralds work
    portrays a slice of rich New York during the
    roaring 20s.
  • Its a story of America in the 1920s
    prosperous, giddy, dream-filled and corrupt

After WWI, the US experienced a rush of
prosperity and optimism.
  • The bull market and buying on margin
  • Early teardown capital Skyscrapers spread
    across the city (102 stories!), Rock Center built
    on bulldozed university
  • Spontaneous hotel-room cocktail parties are
    common (6 PM to dawn)

Flappers and hip flasks New freedoms for women
after WWI
  • NLWS (National League for Womens Service)
  • Flappers (short skirts, short hair cuts,
    feather boas, costume jewelry)
  • Women could smoke in public for the first time!
    They could drink cocktails! They could eat alone
    in a restaurant!

Flapper Philosophy
New in the 1920s How Great Life Can Be!
  • Beauty Contests
  • Radio
  • The Model A
  • Silent Movies
  • Refrigerators
  • Charles Lindbergh
  • Louis Armstrong
  • William Randolph Hearst
  • Dance Marathons
  • Harry Houdini

Pictures of the 1920s
Some Jazz Age Slang
  • slang used for "girls or women"  a broad, a
    bunny, a canary (well, one who could sing), a
    charity girl (one who was sexually promiscuous),
    a dame, a doll, cat's meow, cat's whiskers
  • cast a kitten to have a fit. Used in both
    humorous and serious situations. i.e. "Stop
    tickling me or I'll cast a kitten!" Also, "have
  • cake-eater a lady's man
  • chunk of lead an unattractive female
  • bug-eyed Betty an unattractive girl
  • Butt me. I'll take a cigarette
  • "I have to go see a man about a dog." to go buy

Life Under Prohibition
  • WCTM, National Prohibition Party thought that
    alcohol dangerous, destroyed families
  • 18th Amendment (1919) Volstead Act
  • Prohibition causes bootlegging, rum-running,
  • 21st Amendment (1933)

The National Prohibition Party
(No Transcript)
Unintended Effect of Prohibition Urban Corruption
  • Tammany Hall (popular name for the small set of
    elected or appointed official who dominated city
  • Kickbacks for overlooking bootlegging,
    gambling, prostitution
  • Arnold Rothsteins campaign contributions give
    him virtual monopoly over prostitution and
    gambling (he was murdered in 1928)
  • Herman (Rosy) Rosenthal complains to a journalist
    about Tammany Hall corruption ends up dead

The Growth of Organized Crime
The Black Sox of 1919
  • White Sox heavy favorites over Cincinnati Reds in
    the World Series. Players salaries cut b/c WWI
  • White Sox owner, Charles Comisky, had best and
    biggest names in baseball he paid them like the
    worst and smallest names. Chick Gandil decides
    to throw the game with his teammates..
  • Local bookie Joseph Sullivan couldnt get
    Gandils demand for 8 players (100,000), so he
    goes to the number-one gambler-sportman in
    America named Arnold Rothstein
  • Say it aint so, Joe!

Fitzgeralds Life
  • Born in St. Paul
  • Middle class/ upper class
  • Relationship with Zelda, the rich girl
  • admitted into Princeton
  • Thought up the term Jazz Age and lived it!
  • This Side of Paradise
  • The Beautiful and the Damned
  • Zeldas end
  • Hollywood and Alcoholism

Fitzgeralds goal
  • FSF set out to write a novel wholly
    representative of his era prosperous, exciting,
    dream-filled, party-filled, corrupt, corrupt,
  • Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires
  • Under the Red, White, and Blue
  • Trimalchio in West Egg

  • Nick Carraway
  • Daisy and Tom Buchanan
  • George and Myrtle Wilson
  • Jay Gatsby
  • Jordan Baker
  • Meyer Wolfsheim

  • What is success?
  • What is the cost of reaching for the American
  • What are the consequences for having Romantic
  • Does wealth corrupt absolutely?

Things to Watch for
  • West versus East
  • New Money and Old Money
  • Seasons, Weather, Colors
  • HOW are the characters created? Notice words
    associated with each character. What do they
    think? What do they say? What do they do?

Setting fictionalized Long Island NY (see p. 206)
Daisys House
Gatsbys House
East Egg (Old Money)
Myrtles House (Valley of Ashes)
West Egg (New Money)
The First Chapter
  • Nick Carraway explains why he came East to New
  • East Egg/ West Egg explained
  • Then it gets more exciting!
  • Introduction of Tom Buchanan and Daisy Buchanan
    and Jordan Baker
  • First party (each of first 3 chapters has a
    contrasting party)
  • At the very end of the chapter Gatsby glimpsed

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