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Modernism: The American Dream

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Jordan Avery

on 5 December 2013

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Transcript of Modernism: The American Dream

Modernism: The American Dream
What is Modernism?
Modernism = bold new experimental styles and forms sweep the arts (1914-1939) Modernism reflects a loss of faith in traditional values and beliefs, including the American Dream
What is the American Dream?
Events During the Modernism Period
World War I (1914–1918): destruction beyond belief
-Over 300,000 die during the Battle at Verdun
-20,000 in a single day at the River Somme
-over 37 million casualties, including 15 million deaths over the course of the war

The Great Depression follows the 1929 crash of the New York stock market and lasts through the 1930s
1914: WW I begins in Europe
1920: Women gain the US Vote
1925: Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
1929: Stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression
1930-36: Dust Bowl devastates western states
1939: WW II begins in Europe
1949:Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye
Cultural Changes
Painters such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso explore new ways to represent reality
The rise of Socialism directly opposes American system of capitalism
Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, changes the way we see ourselves
Jordan, Anneliese, Sarah, Vanessa, and Abby
The American Dream
America is a new Eden, a “promised land” of beauty, unlimited resources, and endless opportunities.
The independent, self-reliant individual will triumph. Everything is possible for the person who places trust in his or her own powers and potential.
Progress is a good thing, and we can optimistically expect life to keep getting better and better.
The 1919 Prohibition law leads to bootlegging and ushers in the Jazz Age
In 1920, women win the right to vote
General State of the US
The US, was full of life, lust and exhilaration.
Probation enacted prompted bootleggers (like Gatsby)
Lust for materialistic items, apartments in NY, lavish items
Thrill for excitement, to want whats not yours
After the war, stable economy, nice stock prices
How did state of U.S. influence people?
During this time the U.S. started to allow people to buy with credit.
Since people could buy on a margin they could make their dreams come true
They could buy what want, when they wanted it.
They could also start their own businesses without having to worry about investments.
American Dream Quote from
The Great Gatsby
“He was balancing himself on the dashboard of his car with that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American—that comes, I suppose, with the absence of lifting work or rigid sitting in youth and, even more, with the formless grace of our nervous, sporadic games. This quality was continually breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness. He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand.” (Fitzgerald 64)

Gatsby is being used to represent the American dream to continually get better, and this is shown through his restless behavior. This is also characterized by his presence in the West Egg, to show how many people work hard and desire to reach lands of new promises. America is supposed to be the land of opportunities, and the West Egg is where the dreams of becoming rich through hard work are supposed to be achieved. Gatsby does not sit still, so he used to show how even once people have made it to the West Egg, they still want more. The American Dream was to make it to the top, and many people were impatient and worked very hard to get there.
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