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The Great Gatsby

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Kelly McBean

on 12 May 2015

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Meet the Author
Fitzgerald ~ Love and Marriage
Happ Holidays from the Fitzgerlad's in Paris
Fitzgerald's Life
An Introduction
The Great Gatsby
Lesson Focus
Francis Scott Fitzgerald is considered one of the greatest
American writers. He is often considered the most important
American writer of the 20th century.

Most importantly, Fitzgerald
wrote vividly about the jazz age (the 1920s), a term he coined.

The Great Gatsby
is considered
not only his best and most influential work, but one of the greatest
novels ever written.
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on 24 September 1896,
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was named after his ancestor Francis Scott Key, the writer of the American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.
Fitzgerald grew up in Minnesota and enrolled at Princeton University in 1913.
Although he became a prominent figure in the literary life of the university, he struggled academicallyand never graduated.
He joined the army in November 1917.
While stationed in Montgomery, Alabama, he met and fell in love with Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. Zelda agreed to marry him, but she broke off the engagement because of her overpowering desire for wealth and leisure.

With the publication of
This Side of Paradise
(1920), Fitzgerald became a celebrity.
He finally convinced Zelda to marry him. With his new wealth and fame, Fitzgerald fell into a lavish lifestyle of parties and decadence.
At the same time, he was desperate to write something ‘serious’.
He moved to France with Zelda and their daughter Frances, in 1924, and he completed
The Great Gatsby
In the 1930s, they tried to save their marriage unsuccessfully: Fitzgerald constantly had money worries and became an alcoholic, and Zelda suffered a nervous breakdown.

In 1937, however, he managed to acquire work as a script-writer in Hollywood.
There he met and fell in love with Sheilah Graham, a Hollywood columnist.
For the rest of his life, Fitzgerald lived quietly with Ms. Graham. Occasionally he went East to visit Zelda and Frances.
On December 21, 1940, Fitzgerald died of a heart attack at the age of forty-four, leaving his last novel
The Last Tycoon
Fitzgerald ~ The end
A reflection of Life
After hearing about Fitzgerald's life, can you see any similarities between his experiences and those of his characters?

Think about this for a few minutes, dicuss it with a partner and then share your ideas with the class.
Many of these events in the real life of Fitzgerald appear in
The Great Gatsby
, published in 1925.
Like Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway is a thoughtful young man from Minnesota, educated at an Ivy League school, who moves to New York after the war.
Also similar to Fitzgerald is Jay Gatsby, a sensitive young man who idolises wealth and luxury and who falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy family while stationed at a military camp in the South.
Fitz and his Characters
Zelda Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald and Graham in mexico.
Why Read
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
may be the most popular classic in modern Amercan literature.
Since its publication in 1925, Fitzgerlad's masterpiece has become the touchstone for generations of readers and writers, many of whom reread it annually for inspiration and enjoyment.
The story of Jay Gatsby's desperate quest to win back his first love reverberates with themes at once characteristically American and universally human, among them the:
importance of honesty
the temptations of wealth
and the struggle to escape the past
Different Times, Different Places
The key idea of this unit is to study a text that is set in a different place and time period to that of our own.

In this unit, students will examine how different time periods, different cultures and different events are represented in both literary and non-literary texts.

With this in mind, it is vital that we examine the social, cultural and historical context of Fitzgerald's
The Great Gatsby.
The When and Where
The Great Gatsby
is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast
of characters living in the fictional town of West and East Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of
The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his passion and obsession for the beautiful former debutante, Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald's magnum opus,
The Great Gatsby
explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and
excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

About the Book
Fitzgerald, inspired by the parties he had attended while visiting Long Island's north shore, began planning the novel in 1923 desiring to produce, in his words, "something new—something
extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned." Progress was slow with Fitzgerald completing his first draft following a move to the French Riviera in 1924.

His editor, Maxwell Perkins, felt the book was too vague and convinced the author to revise over the next
winter. Fitzgerald was ambivalent about the book's title, at various times wishing to re-title the novel
Trimalchio in West Egg.

About the Book
The book was first published by Scribner's in April 1925,
The Great Gatsby
received mixed reviews and sold poorly; in its first year, the book sold only 20,000 copies. However, the novel experienced a revival during World War II, and became a part of American high school curricula and numerous stage and film adaptations in the following decades.

Today, The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary classic and a contender for the title "Great American Novel". The book is consistently ranked among the greatest works of American literature.

In 1998 the Modern Library editorial board voted it the 20th century's best American novel and second best novel in the English language.
About the Book
Set in the prosperous Long Island of 1922,
The Great Gatsby
provides a critical social history of America during the Roaring Twenties within its narrative.

That era, known for unprecedented economic prosperity, the evolution of jazz music, flapper culture, and bootlegging and other criminal activity, is plausibly depicted in Fitzgerald's novel.

Fitzgerald uses these societal developments of the 1920s to build Gatsby's stories from simple details like automobiles to broader themes like Fitzgerald's discreet allusions to the organized crime culture which was the source of Gatsby's fortune.

Fitzgerald educates his readers about the garish society of the Roaring Twenties by placing a timeless, relatable plotline within the historical context of the era.
The 1920s
Some of the nicknames for this ear in history are:

- The Jazz Age
- The Roaring 20s
- The Flapper Era
- The Aspirin Age
- The Age of Wonderful Nonsense

What do these nicknames suggest about this time period?

Think, Pair, Share!
The Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, and what F. Scott Fitzgerald would later describe as
“the greatest, gaudiest spree in history”
have all come to describe America under the influence of Prohibition.
The Roaring 20s
America had just come out of World War I, one of the bloodiest and most violent episodes in this nation's history. Young people had sacrificed their lives for a war that had taken place on an entirely separate continent, and with many families losing fathers, sons, and husbands in the war, the entire society was submerged in disillusionment, skepticism, cultural experimentation, and hedonism.

the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence

the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.
In the early 1920s World War I had just come to an end. A new generation flocked from small towns to big cities in search of excitement, opportunity, and a “modern” way of living. Electronics like radios became more common, particularly in metropolitan households. Flashy new car designs rolled down city streets.
The 1920s was a decade of exciting social changes and profound cultural conflicts. For many Americans, the growth of cities, the rise of a consumer culture, the upsurge of mass entertainment, and the so-called "revolution in morals and manners" represented liberation from the restrictions of the country's Victorian past. Sexual mores (socially acceptable sexual behavior), gender roles, hair styles, and dress all changed profoundly during the 1920s.
However, for many Americans, the 1920s was a decade of poverty. Generally, groups such as African-Americans, women and farmers did not enjoy the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties. More than 60 per cent of Americans lived just below the poverty line. Life was particularly hard for African-Americans in the Deep South states where the majority of black people endured a combination of poverty and racism. Although some women were able to enjoy more independence and wear the latest fashions, the reality was that most women were poorly paid and were employed in roles such as cleaners or waitresses.
The Reality of the Roaring 20s

After suffering through this tragic war, Americans felt entitled to having a little fun and concentrating their energies on finding pleasure and comfort for themselves in order to forget about the war and the deep emotional and social scars that they had suffered.

Let me rephrase that - they didn't want to have "a little fun" - they wanted to have a lot of fun.

Conservatism and moderation were thrown out of the national window - instead, pleasure-seeking and fast times became the national values.

The 1920s were an era of optimism and aspiration - a time when individuals felt that they could leave behind their pasts completely and could become anyone they wanted to be.

It seemed as if any person could rise to become a member of the social or economic elite. It was a decade obsessed with superlatives - with being the most beautiful, the most powerful, the most wealthy.
The Roaring 20s
Women had finally earned the right to vote, and their hard-fought equality and independence was reflected in their fashion– shorter haircuts, higher hemlines, less curvy silhouettes.
Women in the 1920s
The changing role of American women in the 1920s

The changing role of women was a result of the work they did during the war.
The number of working women increased by 25 per cent.
In 1920, all women were given the right to vote.
'Flappers' smoked in public, danced the new dances, and were sexually liberated.
Women wore clothing more convenient for activity and stopped wearing long skirts and corsets.
Divorce was made easier and the number of divorces doubled - women were not content just to stay at home and put up with bad husbands.
But most women were still housewives and were not as free as their men.

In the 1920s, a new woman was born. She smoked, drank, danced, and voted. She cut her hair, wore make-up, and went to petting parties. She was giddy and took risks. She was a flapper.
The Prohibition
What Was Prohibition?

Prohibition was a period of nearly fourteen years of U.S. history in which the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor was made illegal. It led to the first and only time an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was repealed.
Prohibition was the period in United States history in which the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors was outlawed.
It was a time characterized by speakeasies, glamor, and gangsters and a period of time in which even the average citizen broke the law.
Many people in this time of 'Prohibition' continued to drink and gangsters made enormous amounts of money from supplying illegal liquor.
Also known as the noble experiment

National mood
- when America entered the war in 1917 the national mood also turned against drinking alcohol. The Anti-Saloon League argued that drinking alcohol was damaging American society.
- a ban on alcohol would boost supplies of important grains such as barley.
- the consumption of alcohol went against God's will.
- many agreed that it was wrong for some Americans to enjoy alcohol while the country's young men were at war.
Here are four reasons why Prohibition was introduced:
In 1929, however, the Wickersham Commission reported that Prohibition was not working. In February 1933, Congress passed the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition.
Prohibition had failed.

Here are six reasons why:
There weren't enough Prohibition agents to enforce the law - only 1,500 in 1920.
The size of America's boundaries made it hard for these agents to control smuggling by bootleggers.
The low salary paid to the agents made it easy to bribe them.
Many Americans never gave their support to Prohibition and were willing to drink in speakeasies - bars that claimed to sell soft drinks, but served alcohol behind the scenes.
Gangsters such as Al Capone made money from organised crime.
Protection rackets, organised crime and gangland murders were more common during Prohibition than when alcohol could be bought legally.
Why The Prohibition Didn't Work
Secret Boozers

The Lost Generation

World War I, originally called the Great War, resulted in more than nine million deaths.
In the aftermath of the war there arose a group of young persons known as the
"Lost Generation."
The term was coined from something Gertrude Stein witnessed the owner of a garage saying to his young employee, which Hemingway later used as an epigraph to his novel The Sun Also Rises (1926):
"You are all a lost generation."
This accusation referred to the lack of purpose or drive resulting from the horrific disillusionment felt by those who grew up and lived through the war, and were then in their twenties and thirties. Having seen pointless death on such a huge scale,
many lost faith in traditional values like courage, patriotism, and masculinity
. Some in turn became aimless, reckless, and
focused on material wealth
, unable to believe in abstract ideals.

The Lost Generation: Video
New York in the 1920s
The period of the 1920s was widely regarded as an era of prosperity. Unemployment amongst urban workers remained, on average, under 7 percent. Per capita income grew by a third during a decade of economic expansion that remained relatively unmarred by inflation and recession.
New York in the 1920s had nearly 6 million residents and was a center of manufacturing, commerce, and culture. Immigrants entering through the port and migrants coming by road and rail fed the city’s thriving economy. In 1923, New York produced 1/12th of all manufacturing in the nation.

The island of Manhattan, March 9, 1927
Take a look inside the New York Speakeasys:
Take a photographic tour of New York in the 1920s:
Have a look at New York - Then and Now:

Let's meet the characters!
Nick Carraway
The novel’s narrator, Nick is a young man from Minnesota who, after being educated at Yale and fighting in World War I, goes to New York City to learn the bond business. Honest, tolerant, and inclined to reserve judgment, Nick often serves as a confidant for those with troubling secrets. After moving to West Egg, a fictional area of Long Island that is home to the newly rich, Nick quickly befriends his next-door neighbor, the mysterious Jay Gatsby. As Daisy Buchanan’s cousin, he facilitates the rekindling of the romance between her and Gatsby. The Great Gatsby is told entirely through Nick’s eyes; his thoughts and perceptions shape and color the story.
Jay Gatsby
The title character and protagonist of the novel, Gatsby is a fabulously wealthy young man living in a Gothic mansion in West Egg. He is famous for the lavish parties he throws every Saturday night, but no one knows where he comes from, what he does, or how he made his fortune. As the novel progresses, Nick learns that Gatsby was born James Gatz on a farm in North Dakota; working for a millionaire made him dedicate his life to the achievement of wealth. When he met Daisy while training to be an officer in Louisville, he fell in love with her. Nick also learns that Gatsby made his fortune through criminal activity, as he was willing to do anything to gain the social position he thought necessary to win Daisy. Nick views Gatsby as a deeply flawed man, dishonest and vulgar, whose extraordinary optimism and power to transform his dreams into reality make him “great” nonetheless.
Daisy Buchanan
Nick’s cousin, and the woman Gatsby loves. As a young woman in Louisville before the war, Daisy was courted by a number of officers, including Gatsby. She fell in love with Gatsby and promised to wait for him. However, Daisy harbors a deep need to be loved, and when a wealthy, powerful young man named Tom Buchanan asked her to marry him, Daisy decided not to wait for Gatsby after all. Now a beautiful socialite, Daisy lives with Tom across from Gatsby in the fashionable East Egg district of Long Island. She is sardonic and somewhat cynical, and behaves superficially to mask her pain at her husband’s constant infidelity.
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