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