The Great Gatsby:
Jazz Age Values and Their Reflection Upon the American Dream
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Works Cited 11
The Great Gatsby has been acclaimed as one of the most important novels of the 20th century, and has become an American, and even world, classic. Fitzgerald has not only been heralded for his literary genius in the writing of this novel, but also for his impeccably accurate portrayal of the Jazz Age within The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald has furthermore been accredited with coining the term “Jazz Age.” It has come to mean “[a] new era of ‘relaxation’.” This age further takes its name from “popular music, which saw a tremendous surge in popularity” (Boland). Among the prominent concerns and trends of the period were “the public embrace of technological developments typically seen as progress—cars, air travel, and the telephone—as well as new modernist trends in social behavior, the arts, and culture” (Boland). The Great Gatsby fulfills its role of portraying the Jazz Age accurately, illustrating many of the values of this time period, key among them revolution, innocence, excess, and disillusionment. These values have in turn played a very detrimental role upon the idea of the American Dream, leading to the definitive failure of this idealized world.
First, one of the largest themes of the Jazz Age is revolution. Some of the most predominant forms of revolution illustrated within The Great Gatsby were in music, culture, and technology.
Prior to the 1920s, mainstream American music mostly consisted of folk tunes. The emphasis was on everyday people learning to play for themselves and their families and friends at home. By the twenties, the humble tradition of the Mississippi... [continues]
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