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The 1920s Introduction to The Great Gatsby
Transcript of The 1920s Introduction to The Great Gatsby
Glimpse into the Roaring 20s
A decade dedicated to Reinvention
It was an era of prosperity, Jazz, speakeasies, and wild, reckless youth.
Reinventing Women's Rights and Roles
19th Amendment: 1920 women get the right to vote. FINALLY...
The Flapper: with all the mobility, hustle and bustle, women's old fashioned corsets, stockings, and gowns were booted.
Hemlines and haircuts started rising ("the bob"), while necklines started dropping (oh my!) Women may now smoke, drive, and, work outside of the home!
Male characters are especially protective over their masculinity, feeling the need to prove they are "manly."
Women begin using fashion to show off their wealth and the wealth of their husbands. It was all about fur coats, beads, and expensive jewelry.
Reinventing the Economy: Make it, spend it, flaunt it!
After World War 1, the boys came home and the economy boomed. Consumption soared as people began buying, buying, and buying. Writers, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, are celebrities living the lavish lifestyle.
Reinventing Transportation: Henry Ford's Model-T
People can now travel into towns, to stores, to theatres, etc. People move from rural areas into urban metropolises. People feel excited, but also anxious and isolated being in strange new cities where they see more crime and moral corruption.
The Radio and Photograph:
Companies use them both to advertise. Newspapers and broadcasts are concerned with entertainment news. Billboards pop up along roads. People become self-conscious of what they are "supposed" to have and what they are "supposed" to look like. Writers explore this self-consciousness, materialism, and envy.
The Jazz Age:
Jazz music is born in New Orleans. African American culture and art are finally recognized, and Jazz music becomes the newest sensation.
Jazz music reinvents the rules of "conventional" music and art. The fast-paced beats and synthesis of brass with drums impacts other art, including literature. Authors experiment with fragmented writing to create rhythm, with shifting tones and multiple narrators/perspectives.
Reinventing Drinking Laws :
The selling of alcohol
Shhh...America cannot give up alcohol.
Bootlegger: alcohol smuggler.
Speakeasy: "secret" bar that sold alcohol
Characters and plots tend to be connected by the rebellious crimes of bootlegging. Defying the law was "chic."
Gambling and Gangsters:
Gambling: Chicago White Sox accept bribes and throw the 1919 World Series.
Gangsters: destroy law an order in big cities, such as Manhattan and Chicago, by illegally selling/smuggling alcohol. The most notorious gangster was Al Capone.