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  • 1. MODERNISM AND REALISM IN AMERICAN LITERATURE The 1920s, The American Dream and F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • 2. The 1920s
    • What do you already know about the 1920s?
    • What was going on in America at the time?
    • How were attitudes changing?
    • What events affected how people looked at the world?
  • 3. Changing American Literature
    • WW1 changed American literature
    • Before the war, writers were hopeful and optimistic
    • After the war, writers started to feel hopeless ad cynical about humanity
    • America had, in a way, lost its innocence because the American mind had been ravaged by horrific images of war and brutality
    • Idealism gave way to cynicism and writers began to question authority and tradition
  • 4. The Emergence of “Modernism”
    • Americans wanted to reject the social and cultural norms of the pre-war era and wanted to find new way to define themselves
    • They were disillusioned with the past and looked toward the future and modernity
    • They wanted to create their own traditions and society through bold experimentation and exploration
  • 5. The Jazz Age in “Modern” America
    • The 1920s was considered the Jazz Age for its music and its attitude and the term was coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Young people wanted to be independent and live their own lives and not the lives of their parents
    • Women won the right to vote and Prohibition banned alcohol
    • Americans sought “modern” entertainments like movies, jazz, dancing and the radio
  • 6. The American Dream
    • What does the term “American Dream” mean to you?
    • Is there a traditional “American Dream”
    • Do you think there is such thing as an “American Nightmare”?
  • 7. Three Aspects of the American Dream
    • The idea of the “American Dream” can be broken down into three aspects:
      • 1. America as “The Land of Eden”
      • 2. Optimism
      • 3. The Ultimate Triumph and Celebration of the Individual
  • 8. America as “The Land of Eden”
    • America was seen at the land of limitless bounty and beauty
    • America was also seen as the land of opportunity and unlimited resources and chances for prosperity
    • People thought that anyone could achieve anything they wanted in America- this is a key theme for the character of Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby
  • 9. American Optimism
    • Americans begin to emphasize the idea of progress, related to the idea of becoming “modern”
    • They think life is getting better and better and that they are headed for an era of extreme prosperity and success
  • 10. The Ultimate Triumph and Celebration of the Individual
    • Because anything is possible in America, the hard working and self-reliant person will accomplish whatever he sets his mind to
    • There is also emphasis on overcoming any unfortunate circumstances that could get in the way to success (birth, poverty, social standing etc)
    • People also thought they only needed to trust in themselves and the universe