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The Great Gatsby

Presentation about the Jazz Age, the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and their relevance when reading The Great Gatsby

Claire Graham

on 31 August 2017

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby

The Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Great Gatsby: The American Nightmare
The Beginning
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald
Born on September 24th, 1896 in st. paul, minnesota
Named after famous second cousin, Francis Scott Key
Composer of "The Star-Spangled Banner"
also named after his deceased sister, Jean Scott
Known to family as simply "scott"
The Quest
His mother wanted to make sure that he had all of the advantages of an upper-middle class upbringing.
Attended multiple Catholic private schools
Moved according to father's employment
Race to the top

Attended Newman School from 1911-1912
entered princeton university 1913
college life
* member of the university cottage club
* wrote for the princeton triangle club
* 1st novel rejected by Charles scribner's sons
* left college to enlist during World war i, as most poor people did
Fitzgerald's golden girl
Zelda sayre
met at a country club
from montgomery, alabama
she broke off the engagement because she was unsure he would be able to support her.
daisy buchanan, anyone?

This side of paradise was published in 1919

focused on post-wwi flapper generation

zelda and scott resumed their engagment

only child: Frances scott "scottie" fitzgerald
born: october 26, 1921

the beautiful and damned published in 1922
1920s: The Jazz age
the most influential decade of his development as a writer
the great gatsby--1925
the american dream gone bad

*the fitzgeralds spent much of the 1920s in france
*befriended Ernest hemingway
*Hemingway + zelda = hot mess

fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories for magazines and scripts for films

mr. hemingway did not approve

only "this side of paradise" was successful during this time period, but the fitzgeralds lived very extravagantly

went broke--borrowed money constantly from his literary agent
golden girl goes nuts

zelda was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1930

fitzgerald put his 4th novel on hold and wrote short stories to pay her medical bills.

tender is the night was released in 1934 (9 years after the great gatsby) and is somewhat autobiographical

like gatsby, this book became popular many years after its release
the decline

fitzgerald had been an alcoholic since college

suffered from tuberculosis

had two heart attacks in 1940

died of a massive heart attack on December 21, 1940
So Long, Zelda

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald died in 1948

Fire at Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, N.C.
The Love of the Last Tycoon

Published posthumously in 1941

Finished by literary critic Edmund Wilson
Fashion of the Jazz Age
Popular Short Stories

"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" (1920)
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (1921)
"Winter Dreams" (1922)
Peer Review for *The Great Gatsby*

T.S. Eliot: "It seems to me to be the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James."

Excerpt from Charles Jackson's *The Lost Weekend*: "There's no such thing as a flawless novel. But if there is, this is it."

Richard Yates: "The most nourishing novel I've read...a miracle of talent..a triumph of technique."

Other Praise

J.D. Salinger wrote positively of Fitzgerald in letters that were composed during the 1940s.

New York Times Editorial (published after Fitzgerald's death): "Fitzgerald was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a generation."
What is the Jazz Age?
Fitzgerald coined this term in 1922
"Anything Goes"attitude
Post World War I
Dance, music, happiness
Economic boom due to government-growth policies, increases in construction, production of goods, and the stock market.
The American Dream?

no matter what you came from, Hard work and determination can get you whatever you want.
The American nightmare

Hard work and determination are not always good enough. You can never completely transcend or overcome what you were born into.
Fitzgerald and zelda
The roaring 20s: anything was possible

New technology
"moving pictures"
airplanes (lucky lindy)
cultural revolution
gender roles
sexual mores
18th amendment ratified in 1919
volstead act
made milliionaires out of bootleggers and purveyors of organized crime
The Great Gatsby: Main Characters

Nick Carraway
Jay Gatsby
Daisy Buchanan
the great gatsby: minor characters

tom buchanan
jordan baker
myrtle wilson
george wilson
general plot

Summer of 1922
west egg, new york
mystery man
the demise of the era of dreaming
The Great Gatsby lives on...

Film Versions
2002 (G)

Rich girls don't marry poor boys, Jay Gatsby.
My Personal Reaction
Full transcript