The Great Gatsby and Jazz Age Values Essay

2691 Words Dec 26th, 2010 11 Pages
From Rags to Riches: The American Dream in US American Literature

The Great Gatsby:
Jazz Age Values and Their Reflection Upon the American Dream

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Revolution Music 3 Culture 4 Technology 6

Excess 7

Disillusionment 9

Conclusion 10

Works Cited 11

Introduction

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
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Though Daisy also physically embodies the flapper in her beauty and charm, she is also too “fickle, bored, shallow, and sardonic” to be a true flapper woman (SparkNotes). Further, Gatsby himself can be seen as a defiance of tradition. He is a self-made man, starting as a very lowly apprentice to a sea captain, then going on to become a very wealthy entrepreneur. “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people—his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself” (Fitzgerald, 63). His methods of achieving success are also a rebellion against the norm; he uses any means necessary including betting and smuggling alcohol during the Prohibition. Society’s view on these methods of attaining riches was drastically different than traditional ones, further alluding to a cultural revolution: “Real-life personalities were highly esteemed for their alleged bootlegging under Prohibition... At the onset of Prohibition, a bootlegging industry flourished from the start, and drinking became more in vogue than ever. Upper-class citizens gained prestige by offering outlawed alcohol to their house guests and by taking friends to popular speakeasies” (Moss, 151). The moral rights and ethics of good were overshadowed by the need to

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