Poseur: po·seur (p -z r , p z r) n. One who affects a particular attribute, attitude, or identity to impress or influence others. [French, from poser, to pose , from Old French; see pose 1.] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/poseur
Chicago Historical Society.
"Advertising in the 1920s," EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2000).
Dirks, Tim. “The History of Films: the Early Twenties.” http://www.filmsite.org/20sintro.html
Cody “dresses” Gatsby for the part. Clothing is an important aspect of Jay Gatsby’s image. Tom criticizes Gatsby’s “pink suit.” Gatsby demonstrates his wealth to Daisy by showing her his numerous shirts.
Ask students to discuss this quote. Can youth be preserved by wealth?
F. Scott Fitzgerald’sThe Great Gatsby“How to be a Millionaire or Just Look Like One: Jay Gatsby: The ArtfulPoseur”
Importance of Setting in The Great Gatsby• 1922: The 1920s represented an era of rapid change. WWI had ended, America was victorious, and the economy shifted to prosperity (largely due to mass production of exportable goods and the creation of a “consumer culture.”
• Defiance of the Prohibition Act, women gaining the right to vote, relaxing of social mores, the rise in organized crime, the influence of Hollywood, advertising, and the fashion industries, all contributed to the advent of the Roaring 20s—a time of reckless spending, get-rich-quick schemes and an abandonment of the noble ideals of hard and honest work.
• East Egg (where the old money families live) and West Egg, Long Island (where the nouveau riche [newly rich] reside.• The Valley of Ashes (Industrial section): the depression and grime symbolize the wealthy’s exploitation of the working class. Myrtle Wilson feels trapped in the “ash heap.”
Settings: reflect social classNote, for example, the contrasts betweenthe interiors of: Gatsby’s and theBuchanans’ houses, Tom and Myrtle’sapartment in New York City or the PlazaHotel, and George and Myrtle Wilson’sgarage/apartment.
Political/Social Climate in 1920s• President Woodrow Wilson had led the country through WWI.• Warren Harding (Republican) was elected President in 1921. His administration is remembered for its CORRUPTION.• The government and law enforcement did little to stop the illegal sale of alcohol.
• The nouveau riche (new rich) emerged: a generation of wealthy individuals who did not inherit their social and financial status, but who became suddenly well-off due to lucrative business ventures (some were illegal). “The American Dream” was attainable without “hard work” or “perseverance.”
President Warren G. Harding(1922-1923)Though he promised a “return tonormalcy” after the war, Hardingaccomplished little as president.Some political analysts believe hewas elected because of hisdistinct charm and strong,masculine good looks rather thanhis political intelligence.
During 1922 he unknowingly contributedto an elaborate oil scam known as theTeapot Dome Scandal, where membersof his own cabinet were using the rightsto public oil reserves for personal gain.He died of a heart attack in 1923, leavingbehind one of the most corruptadministrations to ever occupy the WhiteHouse.
18 Amendment Fails th• 18th Amendment: prohibiting the sale, manufacturing, or transporting of alcohol, went into effect January 16, 1920. The intent of the Amendment was to help the working man rise up from the poverty his drinking habits had created. Instead, alcohol sales sky-rocked.
Prohibition Creates Bootlegging Industry• Crime increased because people rebelled against laws prohibiting alcohol.● Numerous “speak- easies”—nightclubs where alcoholic drinks were sold—cropped up.
GangstersGangsters profited during this decade bysmuggling alcohol and distributing it todifferent illegal businesses. Al Caponefrom Chicago was one of these gangsters. He made $105 million a year smugglingalcohol. Political and law enforcementcorruption contributed to the rise in crime.
• What do Al Capone, Coco Chanel, and Greta Garbo have in common with Jay Gatsby ?• They all reinvented themselves in the 1920s.
“Al Capone is Americasbest known gangsterand the single greatestsymbol of the collapseof law and order in theUnited States during the1920s Prohibition era.Capone had a leadingrole in the illegalactivities that lentChicago its reputationas a lawless city.”(Chicago HistoricalSociety Home Page).
From Alphonso the pin boy to Al the king pin■ Born 1899 in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in a rough neighborhood.■ Dropped out of school in the 6th grade at the age of 14.■ Joined 2 gangs as a teenager.■ Held various menial jobs: pin boy in bowling alley; clerk in candy store, etc.■ Got involved in Five Points Gang (Manhattan) (Chicago Historical Society Home Page).
• Frankie Yale, the boss of the Five Points Gang, sent Capone to Chicago after Capone caused serious injury to a rival gang member.• John Torrio, Yale’s old mentor, saw great potential in Capone because of his physical strength and intelligence (and because Capone was capable of killing gang rivals) (Chicago Historical Society Home Page).
• Soon Capone was running Torrio’s bootlegging business, brothers and saloons.• When Torrio was shot and wounded by a rival gang member, he left town. Capone took over as “Boss” (Chicago Historical Society Home Page).
♀19 Amendment th• August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment passed.• Now women had the legal right to vote.• Although women did not flock to the polls to vote after the 19th Amendment, this landmark legislation does reflect the 1920s image-conscious “independent woman.” (Women still gained status via a “good marriage).
Consumerism Rises• The prosperity of the post-WWI era is attributed to the “Culture of Consumerism” fueled by advertising in mass circulation of magazines such as Ladies Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. Hollywood experienced a boom. Tabloids flourished (b/c we wanted to read about the rich and famous).
How important is fashion to Jay Gatsby?• At 17, when Jimmy Gatz decides he is really Jay Gatsby, his mentor, Dan Cody, takes him to Duluth and “[buys] him a blue coat, six pairs of white duck trousers, and a yachting cap” to sharpen Gatsby’s image (100).
Gatsby’s clothes are mentioned several times in the novel.• There’s a “caramel-colored suit” (64)• He shows Nick a picture of himself and other young men in “blazers” at Oxford (67).• He wears a “white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie” when he meets
Gatsby’s suits are mentioned several times in the novel.• There’s a “caramel-colored suit” (64)• He shows Nick a picture of himself and other young men in “blazers” at Oxford (67).• He wears a “white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie” when he meets Daisy at Nick’s house (84).
His multiple shirts move Daisy to tears.• When he gives Daisy a tour of his house, Gatsby shows her his wardrobe:• “…he opened …two hulking patent cabinets which held his massed suits and dressing gowns and ties, and his shirts, piled like bricks in stacks a dozen high” (92). He took out a pile of shirts…shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel…”
• Daisy comments to Gatsby: “You resemble the advertisement of the man” (119).• Tom makes fun of Gatsby’s “pink suit” (122)
"How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to become someone."--Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
• Designer Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883, although she would later claim that her real date of birth was 1893, making her ten years younger.• Her mother died when Coco was 6 years old. She spent most of her childhood in the orphanage of the Catholic monastery of Aubazine. There she learned the trade of sewing. During WWI, Coco moved to the resort town of Deauvile, where she met and became mistress of an English military officer, and then of a wealthy industrialist.
From Gabrielle to Coco• “Through the patronage and connections that these men provided she was able to open her own millinery shop in Paris in 1910 and she soon had boutiques in both Deauville and Biarritz.”• During WWII, Chanel was a nurse, but her affair with a Nazi officer had a negative impact on her popularity. She moved to Switzerland to avoid the scandal.
• Coco Chanel’s fashions (the “little black dress” and pill box suit) lost popularity in Europe, but gained status and desirability in the United States, where movie stars such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn made famous her boxy cardigan suits and elegant but simple dress styles.
Revising the Past• “Later when questioned [about her background], Chanel would claim that when her mother died, her father sailed for America and she was sent to live with two cold-hearted spinster aunts. She even claimed to have been born in 1893 as opposed to 1883, and that her mother had died when Coco was twelve instead of six. All this was done to diminish the stigma that poverty, orphanhood, and illegitimacy bestowed upon unfortunates in nineteenth-century France” (Coco Chanel Biography).
Hollywood also Thrived• By 1920, there were more than 20,000 movie houses operating in the US.• “The basic patterns and foundations of the film industry (and its economic organization) were established in the 1920s” (Dirks).
Hollywood, cont.• “The studio system was essentially born with long-term contracts for stars, lavish production values, and increasingly rigid control of directors and stars by the studios production chief and in-house publicity departments” (Dirks).
• “After World War I and into the early 1920s, America was the leading producer of films in the world - using Thomas Inces "factory system" of production, although the system did limit the creativity of many directors”(Dirks).
• Production was in the hands of the major studios (that really flourished after 1927 for almost 20 years), and the star system was burgeoning.
Jay Gatsby Hobnobs with Stars• Chapter 4 mentions among Gatsby’s party guest list: Newton Orchid who controlled Films Par Excellence and Eckhaust and Clyde Cohen and Don S. Schwartze, and Arthur McCarty, all connected with the movies… (these are fictitious names). .
• Hollywood, where images are created, actors change their names to something the public will like, where fortunes can be lost and made quickly, and where scandals abound, has made ILLUSION one of the most lucrative businesses in this country.
Reinventing the Self• Garbo: born Greta Louisa Gustafsson in Stockholm, Sweden on September 18, 1905. Her father died when she was 14.• Worked as a “lather girl” in a barber shop, then as a salesgirl and occasional model in a department store. Met Mauritz Stiller, Sweden’s foremost film director.
From Gustafsson to Garbo• 1925 Stiller went to Hollywood to work for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Stiller took Garbo with him and she got an acting contract with M-G-M. Her first films in America—The Torrent (1926) and Flesh and the Devil (1927)-- silent films, made her a success.
Garbo withdraws from Hollywood• After her 1941 film, Two Faced Woman, flopped, she retreated from Hollywood at the age of 36 and led a private, somewhat secluded life in New York City.
From Jimmy Gatz to Jay Gatsby• What motivates Gatz’s transformation?• When did it begin?• How does Gatsby become wealthy?• Does Gatsby represent the American Dream or a Corruption of that Dream?
•James Gatz’s parents were “shiftless andunsuccessful farm people” from NorthDakota (98).
At a young age, Jamesputs himself on a rigorousself-improvement plan,trying to follow HopalongCassidy’s advice.
Hopalong Cassidy American Icon:Henry Gatz tells Nick that“Jimmy” had a copyof the book,Hopalong Cassidy,when he was a boy.On the back fly-leaf“Jimmy” printed his“self-improvement”schedule (173).
Hopalong’s CreedThe highest badge of honor a person can wearis honesty. Be truthful at all times.Your parents are the best friends you have.Listen to them and obey their instructions.If you want to be respected, you must respectothers. Show good manners in every way.Only through hard work and study can yousucceed. Dont be lazy.
Your good deeds always come to light. Sodont boast or be a show-off.If you waste time or money today, you willregret it tomorrow. Practice thrift in allways.Many animals are good and loyalcompanions. Be friendly and kind to them.
A strong, healthy body is a precious gift. Be neat and clean. Our countrys laws are made for your protection. Observe them carefully. Children in many foreign lands are less fortunate than you. Be glad and proud you are an American.Hopalong Cassidy’s character was invented by author Clarence Mulford, who wrote 26 books about the cowboy between 1907- 1941. Several films followed.
Does Jay Gatsby Adhere to Hopalong’s Creed?• We know Gatsby is NOT honest.• We know he does not honor his parents.• We know that Gatsby has impeccable manners.
• We know that Gatsby does not believe hard work and academic perseverance will earn him the respect or status he wants: He drops out of St. Olaf College (MN) after 2 weeks because he doesn’t like working as a janitor to pay his tuition (99).
• We know he does not obey the law (he bribes a police officer about to give him a speeding ticket; his affiliation with Meyer Wolfsheim suggests Mob connections).• We know that instead of being modest, Gatsby goes to great lengths to display his wealth to lure Daisy Buchanan.
• Instead of practicing “thrift” he epitomizes ostentatious, careless spending.• We do not know if Gatsby was kind to animals.
• Gatsby runs away from his background, disowns his parents (he tells Nick they are dead), and reinvents himself.
• At 17, when he meets Dan Cody, whose yacht on Lake Superior represents an “opportunity,” James Gatz becomes JAY GATSBY.
• Dan Cody, 50, is an alcoholic who made his fortune in silver and copper mines.• Cody discovers that Gatsby is ambitious and intelligent. Gatsby stays with Cody for 5 years. It is Gatsby’s apprenticeship to teach him how to “behave like a rich person” so he will blend in.
• Gatsby meets Daisy when he is stationed in Louisville, Kentucky.• He “takes her” under false pretenses, for he presents himself of a man from a family of high social standing.• Daisy represents Jay Gatsby’s entry into a world of sophistication and wealth.
• Gatsby cannot acquire status by marrying a rich woman, since this would violate social expectations and reverse gender roles (the 1920s).
Gatsby’s Transformation cont.• Gatsby not only wants to erase his own past, as a product of poor farmers from North Dakota, he also wants Daisy to deny that her past with Tom held meaning for her.
•In short, Gatsby wantsto turn back time andmeet Daisy again, nowas someone “worthy” ($)of her.
Gatsby’s Dream•Gatsby dreams of one day beingreunited with Daisy Buchanan.•To win her back, he makes afortune–apparently through dealingswith mobsters.•His dream of gaining entry into the East Egg society is shattered.•Daisy allows Gatsby to take theblame for Myrtle Wilson’s death.
• The wealth of the 1920s however, belies careless disregard for responsible spending (and the importance of hard work and perseverence) and for moral principles.• “The Party has to End”: lavish spending and disregard for family and more traditional values (such as fidelity to one’s spouse) contributed to economic collapse and a decline in national morale.
Greed Wins the Day• In The Great Gatsby, the central characters achieve wealth and social status, but Nick Carraway, the narrator, comes to see them at the novel’s end as shallow people who lack empathy. Daisy pretends she did not run over Myrtle Wilson, Tom continues his boorish ways, and Gatsby winds up dead (as do Myrtle and George Wilson).
“Gatsby was overwhelmingly aware of the youthand mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves,of the freshness of many clothes, and of Daisy,gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hotstruggles of the poor” (150).
Works Cited• "Advertising in the 1920s," EyeWitness to History, <www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2000) <26 May 2010>.• “Al Capone.” Chicago Historical Society. (http://www.chicagohs.org/history/capone.html <26 May 2010>.• Dexter, Matthew. http://matthewbdexter.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/f-scott-fitzgerald-and-hi- 001.jpg“ <12October 2010>.• Coco Chanel.” <http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biographies/coco-chanel.html <26 May 2010>.• Dirks, Tim. “The History of Films: the Early Twenties.” <http://www.filmsite.org/20sintro.html. <26 May 2010>.• Haley, Vanessa. Collages. http://www.PlayGamestoLearn.com.• “Hopalong Cassidy.” < http://www.hopalong.com/creed.htm. <26 May 2010>.• Leyendecker, Joseph. “Arrow Shirt Advertisement.” <12 October 2010>.• Penguin edition book cover, artist not known. http://www.robertarood.files.wordpress.com/.../ggatsby.jpg. <12 October 2010>.• “Poseur.” One who affects a particular attribute, attitude, or identity to impress or influence others. <http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ poseur>. 26 May 2010.