- In what time was The Great Gatsby composed?
Fitzgerald’s Personal Context
- When was Fitzgerald born?
- What was Fitzgerald’s religious background? How this shape his criticism of the Jazz Age?
- Who was Fitzgerald’s first love? Why didn’t the relationship work out?
- Who was Fitzgerald’s second love (and who he married in 1920)? Why did she initially reject him?
- What was their married life like? What kinds of problems did they experience?
- How is the text a reflection of Fitzgerald’s own life?
The Jazz Age (or Roaring Twenties)
- When was the Jazz Age?
- The Jazz Age came after World War I (ended 1918). How did the young American generation feel after the war?
- How was established Victorian and Edwardian social morality viewed after WWI?
- What happened to the American economy? How did this influence society’s behaviour and attitudes?
- Which characters and settings represent the old American aristocracy? What does Fitzgerald suggest about them?
- Which characters and settings represent the “newly rich” Americans? What does Fitzgerald suggest about them?
- What was bootlegging?
- What was the role of women during this time?
- What happened in 1929 and came after the Jazz Age?
Keywords: disillusionment, hedionism, excess, materialism
The American Dream
- What is the American Dream? What did it promise?
- How has the American Dream been corrupted?
- How does Gatsby’s dream of Daisy reflect Fitzgerald’s criticism of the American Dream?
- What does the green light in the text represent? How does it relate to the American Dream? Consider the last lines of the text.
- What did past industry and economy rely upon?
- How did this change during the Industrial Revolution?
- How does this relate to capitalism?