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Background Information: The Great Gatsby

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Natalia Wegrzyniak

on 16 February 2011

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Transcript of Background Information: The Great Gatsby

Francis Scott Fitzgerald
What do we need to know before we
start reading The Great Gatsby?

The Roaring 20's
September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940
Born into an upper middle class Irish Catholic family. Split his childhood between Minnesota and New York due to his father's job
Attended three prep schools before entering Princeton University in 1913
Spent more time in the Princeton Triangle Club (campus theatre group) than in his studies
Dropped out rather than flunked out his senior year
Enlisted in the U.S. Army after the U.S. entered WWI
Wrote the novel "The Romantic Egoist" while in the army
While stationed at Camp Sheridan in Montgomery, AL, he meets Zelda Sayre
Zelda was considered a "golden girl" in Alabama youth society and the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge
It was praised but rejected by publishers
When the war ended, Fitzgerald took an advertising job, wrote short stories and became engaged to Zelda
Zelda broke off the engagement; worried Fitzgerald wouldn't be able to support them
Went home to Minnesota to rewrite "The Romantic Egoist"
Renamed "This Side of Paradise" and about post-WWI flapper generation
Accepted for publishing in fall of 1919
Zelda resumed the engagement and they got married
Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald was born on October 26, 1921
Zelda and Fitzgerald continued to live an extravagant life attending wild parties and spending time with celebrities of the time
Fitzgerald belonged to a group of authors known as the Expatriates
These were American artists who spent considerable time in Europe because they were disappointed with the breakdown of the American dream
Expatriate - a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing or legal residence
Fitzgerald spent his time in France
Part of a movement in American literature known as Modernism

Modernist literature was marked with the idea of living for the moment
Modernism lasted from 1914 -1945, the period between the two world wars

Modernists felt that due to the war, America had lost its innocence
Major modernist authors include Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Zora Neale Hurston, T.S. Eliot, and F. Scott Fitzgerald
These ideas coincided with the Roaring 20's, the most influential decade to Fitzgerald
Coined this era: The Jazz Age
1925: "The Great Gatsby" is published
Great Gatsby is based partially on Fitzgerald’s life
Financial trouble due to Zelda's medical bills: schizophrenic
Known for his heavy drinking during the 20's, leaving him in poor health
Developed tuberculosis
Died of a massive heart attack
Other works:
1921 - The Curious Case of
Benjamin Button
1922 - The Beautiful and Damned
1931 - Babylon Revisited
1934 - Tender Is the Night
1941 - The Last Tycoon
Later 1930's: Worked in Hollywood writing scripts to make ends meet
Marriage trouble: Zelda lived in mental institutions on the East Coast while Fitzgerald lived with his lover Sheilah Graham in Hollywood
Dancing Craze
Let's do the Charleston!
"The Great Gatsby" takes place in 1922. There are many symbols, themes, and motifs that focus on the ideals of the Roaring 20's.
Your task: You will choose a symbol, theme, or motif to follow in the novel and analyze. You will create a Prezi presenting your findings including examples from the book and original comments.
Full transcript