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Historical Factors That Shaped the Great Gatsby

By Seanenepay Aug 18, 2013 439 Words
HIstorical Factors That Shape
The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a great book filled with historical factors and references to in the 1920s. The author F. Scott Fitzgerald does a tremendous job shaping how the 1920s would have been in this book. Conversations on WWI, experiences with flappers, prohibitions and bootleggers give us an understanding of how the roaring 1920s was like.

One of the largest references to the 20s was one of the main characters; Daisy (Tom Buchanan's wife) is the perfect example of a flapper. An example is presented (Chapter 7 pages 118-119) when Daisy tries to get herself and Gatsby away from the party by presenting the idea of going to town. Tom somewhat objects and ends up having everyone go into town because of Daisy’s actions with Gatsby. Another example (page135) is after the group goes into town Gatsby drives Daisy back alone. She is being somewhat rebellious and unfaithful to her husband throughout not just this chapter, but throughout the whole book. Another example of flappers that goes along with the prohibition aspect would be the speakeasy that occurs in Chapter 2 while both the men and women are drinking.

One of the first mentions of WWI is during Chapter 3 (pages 47) when at the party Nick Caraway has a conversation with another man about their division and infantry positions on the front line. Later on in Chapter 4 (pages 66-67) when Gatsby is telling Nick about the life he has lived. He admits that he had tried very hard in the war to die but failed. Gatsby acquired the rank of first lieutenant and was honored with an award for “Valor Extraordinary.” The mentions of WWI are almost crucial to the development of Mr. Gatsby. As a result of being a soldier, no one could tell whether he was poor, middle or high class. Because of this Daisy came into the picture since Gatsby was a hero for being a soldier and could lie about his wealth.

Lastly the author shaped this book and made it whole through the references to the roaring twenties. From various mentions of the Jazz Age and Jazz music to the perviously mentioned flappers, Fitzgerald does a good job helping us picture the 1920s. Prohibition was something people had to abide by unless they were bootleggers, such as Gatsby. The rich and elegant lifestyle that came from the roaring twenties is told about in scenes from Gatsby's parties, the availability of cars and lifestyles brought on through West Egg and East Egg.

Sources

Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1953. Paperback.

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