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Introduction to The Great Gatsby

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Kris L

on 2 April 2013

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Transcript of Introduction to The Great Gatsby

The American Dream was originally the promise of a land of freedom with opportunity and equality for all
Fitzgerald began to drink heavily and published his last complete novel Tender is the Night in 1934. Zelda spent the rest of her life in various sanitariums.

Fitzgerald’s personal life suffered from illness and alcoholism, and he returned to work in Hollywood to pay his bills and medical expenses. He died in 1940 at the age of 44 from a heart attack.

In his writing, Fitzgerald tried to capture the spirit of the 1920’s. Characters Nick Carraway: The narrator of the novel; moves from midwest to New York to learn the bond business

Jay Gatsby: Lives next to Nick in a Mansion; throws lavish parties; people come from everywhere to attend, but nobody seems to know the host

Daisy Buchanan: Shallow lady who is the embodiment of Gatsby’s dreams; she was going to marry Gatsby but he went off to war

Tom Buchanan: Husband of Daisy; a cruel man who lives life irresponsibly

Jordan Baker: A cynical and conceited woman who cheats in golf; wants Nick to date her

Myrtle Wilson: Tom has an affair with this married woman and then abandons her after becoming bored with her Barack Obama on “The American Dream” The “Jazz Age” Between WWI and WWII - namely the extravagant decade of the 1920’s
WWI left America in shock and those who fought in the war now turned to extravagant living to compensate
This decade was considered a very economically prosperous time
Jazz music saw a tremendous surge in popularity during this time
This period includes technological developments - cars, air travel, the telephone, as well as new trends in social behaviour, the arts, and culture The Roaring Twenties During this period, he met Zelda Sayre – the daughter of a wealthy Alabama family whose father was a judge. He asked her to marry him, but she cut off their engagement because Fitzgerald was not financially successful. Early in his life, Fitzgerald knew he wanted to be a writer. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 and died on December 21, 1940 at the age of 44
He is regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century
He was born in Minnesota to an upper-middle class Roman Catholic Family
His father was a failure at business and his mother inherited wealth, but had no social status. His family lived on the fringes of high society and wealth. "We lived in a house below average on a street above the average”
This sense of standing outside looking in at the privileged class would shape much of Fitzgerald’s life as well as his fiction. This sparked Fitzgerald’s interest in the fine line between success and failure Biography of the Author Setting West Egg (“Less fashionable”/“New Money” side of Long Island where Gatsby and Nick live)
East Egg (“Fashionable”/“Old Money” side of Long Island where the Buchanans live) The Story Fitzgerald presents his readers with fantasies of hopes and dreams through his characters
Many symbols and motifs, along with themes, illustrate the futility of the American Dream.
Characters cannot obtain happiness and ultimately suffer from their delusions of grandeur The American Dream in The Great Gatsby Created by Mr. Sorgini for ENG 4U1 F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby Themes The failure of the American Dream
The Recklessness and Cruelty of the Rich
Illusion vs. Reality Symbols Cars and their Drivers
The Colours Green, White, and Yellow
The Eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg
The Ash Heaps “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” Prosperity Power Success Stability The American Dream When he reached college age, his parents were delighted when he decided to attend Princeton University. But he realized later that this was a mistake for him "I wrote all through class in school...In the back of my geography and first year Latin, on the margin of themes" "It took my mind off writing. I decided to play football, to smoke . . . to do all sorts of irrelevant things that had nothing to do with the proper mixture of description and dialogue in the short story.” Upon publication of his novel This Side of Paradise in 1920, which became an overnight success, Fitzgerald was able to “purchase his romantic dream” – Zelda agreed to marry him. $ “I married the heroine of my stories. I would not be interested in any other sort of woman. " They began to live a wild flamboyant lavish life – what Fitzgerald called the “greatest gaudiest spree in history.” But it was a lifestyle Fitzgerald could not uphold with his writing. They travelled to Paris in the 1920’s where Fitzgerald finished his second novel The Great Gatsby in 1925. Paris in the 1920’s was a haven for American writers and artists: “The best of America drifts to Paris . . France has the only two things toward which we drift as we grow older – intelligence and good manners.” WWI interrupted his studies at Princeton in 1917 when he enlisted in the army, but he never saw combat because the war ended shortly after his enlistment. They married in New York and they had one daughter in 1921, Frances Scott Fitzgerald. “My idea is to reach my generation. The wise writer writes for the youth of his own generation, the critic of the next and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.” Fitzgerald and Zelda began to have serious marital problems as Zelda’s mental health deteriorated. In 1930 she suffered her first breakdown. The following year she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was placed in a mental institution. For many years, The Great Gatsby was considered a period piece about the 1920’s. The book vividly evokes the era from 1919 to 1929. Fitzgerald called it the Jazz Age for the pulsating, brash, uniquely American music that made its way up from New Orleans and spread from coast to coast. A major theme of the age was individualism and a greater emphasis on the pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment
The 1920’s were the most influential years of Fitzgerald’s development as a writer
He published The Great Gatsby in 1925 Since the early 1900s, The American Dream was distorted by the desire for financial gain and personal success – to obtain the big home, the money, the family, and the “benefits” that come along with it all The American Dream was not what people thought it would be. To uphold this type of lifestyle required a certain disruption of the self, a sort of lie that would destroy all who clung to it Today, not very many people believe in The American Dream, as it has not been easy to obtain or maintain The American Reality? The Valley of the Ashes (A desolate wasteland where the Wilsons live) New York City (A symbol of what America has become in the 1920s - a place where anything goes)
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