The Great Gatsby

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Barry Ann Jie Xun
English Essay

“The characters of a novel can only be individualized if they are set in a background of a particularized time and place.” How important is the setting of a particular time and/or place to the development of the characters?

The setting of a particular time and place is integral to the development of the characters. This can be seen through the book, “ The Great Gatsby”. The book was written in the 1920s America. It was the post World War 1 period and the time of extreme wealth and promise. It was also a Jazz Age, where women enjoyed a much less restricted lifestyle with newfound freedom. There was a legal ban on intoxicating drinks and homemade alcohol from bathtubs was of poor quality so there was a huge market for organized crime. The criminals acquired the name of bootleggers and made a fortune selling alcohol, which were also known as the Newly Rich.

The 1920s saw the crumbling of America, as America's powerful optimism, vitality, and individualism become subordinated to the amoral pursuit of wealth. Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, criticizes the materialism of the generation of the 1920's; they were influenced by wealth, an easy life and material luxury. This can be seen through Daisy and Dr T.J Eckleberg.

Daisy,an example of the obsession with money and consumerism, was especially influenced by these material possessions when she was shown round Gatsby's house, "I've never seen so many beautiful shirts". She notices the expensive things about his house, suggesting that she is interested in having an affair because of his money and the status it gives him. Daisy and Gatsby were together in the past and before she hears Jordan mention his name she doesn't appear to have shown any interest in contacting him. She is also hesitant to go to Gatsby's house without Nick, who she then allows to leave after she's been shown around and seen what wealth Gatsby has. Gatsby associates...
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