Honors American Literature
The Great Gatsby: First Response
Written in 1925, The Great Gatsby has a strong sense of popular American History. Ranging from World War I to prohibition and “The Jazz Age” to 1920’s social economics, the novel is full of historical references.
Jay Gatsby perfectly represents all of the aspects of the 1920’s perfectly. He idolizes wealth and easy living just like everyone in the 1920’s did. After suffering through the tragic war, Americans felt entitled to having a little fun and concentrating on finding pleasure and comfort for themselves in order to forget about the war. The 1920's were a time of optimism and ambition, when individuals felt that they could leave behind their pasts and could become anyone they wanted. Gatsby had believed in that same dream and believed that he could win anything, even love, with money. One of the most important themes in The Great Gatsby is its focus on money as the foundation of American society. During the 1920's, the USA experienced an extraordinary economic boom that made the values of materialism and ambition take over the American mentality. With a high social class possible for everyone during the 1920's, many Americans did try to involve themselves in "get-rich-quick" systems that sometimes included illegal activities such as gambling and bootlegging. The color green, the color of money, plays an especially important role in this book - the light at the end of Daisy's deck, and when Nick describes North America as the “large, undeveloped piece of green land had filled that the original Dutch explorers with hope and ambition”. In this novel, the color green symbolizes the quest for the American Dream and the belief that money could solve any problems. The novel is set in the era when organized crime became a means of rebelling against Prohibition, and Gatsby has made an incredible amount of money as a bootlegger. At his extravagant parties, he entertains movie...
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