Uploaded by YIFEN ZHANG


F. Scott Fitzgerald
1896 – 1940
Enduring Associations
• Fitzgerald has become identified with the extravagant living of the Jazz Age:
• “It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire.”
--F. Scott Fitzgerald
1920-1929: The Roaring Twenties
1920’s Cultural Points
• 1920: 19th amendment granted women right to vote
• 1921: knee-length skirts became fashionable, 1st Miss America pageant
• 1922: 5,000 speakeasies in NYC
• 1923: 15 million cars registered in US
• 1926: 40-hour work week established, in 6 Americans owns a car
• 1927: 30,000 speakeasies in NYC, 41 die in New Year’s Eve due to bad booze
• 1929: Stock Market Crash
• Music in Gatsby
• Remember the “yellow cocktail music” of Gatsby’s parties?
• This was Jazz and Ragtime
– Louis Armstrong,
– Duke Ellington
King Oliver
• Prohibition
• The 18th Amendment (1919) to the Constitution forbade the manufacture, sale, import, or export of
intoxicating liquors.
• The 21st Amendment (1933) repealed the Eighteenth Amendment.
• The prohibition of alcohol in 1919 was intended to rid society of the evils of alcohol. Instead, it
turned the average person into a “criminal.”
• Overnight Fame
• March 26, 1920: This Side of Paradise was published, making the 24 year-old Fitzgerald famous
almost overnight.
One week later, he married Zelda Sayre in New York.
Extravagant Living
Scott & Zelda began to live as young celebrities, socializing and drinking heavily. They lived the life
of glitz and glamour in New York and Paris.
October 1921´╝îTheir only child, Scottie was born.
Scott dies of a heart attack in his girlfriend’s apartment.
• Zelda dies when the hospital catches fire.
• Scott leaves his daughter to be cared for by relatives when she is about 15.
Fitzgerald’s Works
This Side of Paradise (1920)
Flappers and Philosophers (1920)
The Beautiful and Damned (1922)
Tales of the Jazz Age (1922)
The Great Gatsby (1925)
All the Sad Young Men (1926)
Tender is the Night (1934)
Taps at Reveille (1935)
The Last Tycoon (1941)
Although Fitzgerald’s drinking gave him a reputation as an irresponsible writer, he was a painstaking
• While he endured a lot of criticism just after his death, his reputation grew in the 1960’s.
• Today, he is considered one of the great American novelists, and The Great Gatsby is considered his
What is the American Dream?
It describes an attitude of hope and faith that looks forward to the fulfillment of human wishes and
• The American Dream is the idea held by many in the United States of America that through hard
work, courage, and determination one can achieve financial and personal success. These were values
held by many early European settlers, and have been passed down to subsequent generations.
• What the American dream has become is a question under constant discussion, and some believe that
it has led to an emphasis on material wealth as a measure of success and/or happiness.
• The American dream is a concept that permeates our culture and unifies us all as Americans despite
our racial, religious, and socio-economic diversity. This dream also serves to connect us to our
nation’s historical past as well as to the generations of the future.
Origins of the American Dream:
• European explorers and the Puritans—Doctrine of Election and Predestination
• The Declaration of Independence—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; “We hold these truths to
be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain
unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
• American Revolutionary War—promise of land ownership and investment
• Industrial Revolution—possibility of anyone achieving wealth & the nouveau riche
The Demise of the Dream
The horror and death of World War I damaged the image of the land of Eden
The remaining youth were no longer content to work toward the American Dream all their lives
The economic crash of the late 20’s further damaged the optimism of the American Dream
• Whilst The Great Gatsby explores a number of themes, none is more prevalent than that of the
corruption of the American dream. Gatsby appears to be the embodiment of this dream – he has risen
from being a poor farm boy with no prospects, to being rich, having a big house, servants, and a large
social circle attending his numerous functions. He has achieved all this in only a few short years,
having returned from the war penniless.
• Its form, its satisfying complexity, its deft selection of detail, its great natural appeal, and its
concision make The Great Gatsby one of the definitive statements of the American myth.