An Introduction to The Great Gatsby

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This is a brief introduction for The Great Gatsby. This is meant to give some general background information. For a greater introduction, view the BBC documentary The Great Gatsby: Midnight in Manhattan.

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An Introduction to The Great Gatsby

  1. 1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Sunday, August 25, 13
  2. 2. What do you think of when you hear “Roaring Twenties”? A golden age? Jazz? Flappers? Sex? Alcohol? Gangsters? Sunday, August 25, 13
  3. 3. Sunday, August 25, 13
  4. 4. This decade saw the rise (and demise) of many things, such as... Sunday, August 25, 13
  5. 5. ...huge parties with big bands, lots of alcohol and lots of free love. Sunday, August 25, 13
  6. 6. ...the influx of black artists, like singer, dancer and actress Josephine Baker. Sunday, August 25, 13
  7. 7. The rise of flappers*. *Flappers were a "new breed" of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior Sunday, August 25, 13
  8. 8. The rise of film and movie stars.Sunday, August 25, 13
  9. 9. The rise of the modern Broadway musical.Sunday, August 25, 13
  10. 10. Social Inequality Sunday, August 25, 13
  11. 11. It saw good times for the wealthy.Sunday, August 25, 13
  12. 12. ... but tough times for the poor. Sunday, August 25, 13
  13. 13. Text 50% 50% Top .1% (114,000 Americans) Bottom 42% (48 million Americans) The wealth controlled by the very few equaled the wealth of almost half the country Sunday, August 25, 13
  14. 14. Old money vs. new money Sunday, August 25, 13
  15. 15. “Old Money” referred to wealthy families whose wealth has been handed down from generation to generation. The Vanderbilt family Sunday, August 25, 13
  16. 16. “New Money” referred to those from originally lower social classes and came upon wealth usually through work and sometimes through illegal activities. actors, actresses and other Hollywood types often fell within this category Sunday, August 25, 13
  17. 17. Prohibition and Gangsters Sunday, August 25, 13
  18. 18. The 18th Amendment, or the prohibition of alcohol, was instituted in 1920 Sunday, August 25, 13
  19. 19. Prohibition led to ... Sunday, August 25, 13
  20. 20. ...bootlegging, or the illegal movement and sale of alcohol.Sunday, August 25, 13
  21. 21. ...speakeasies, or illegally operated bars, which were usually owned by gangsters. Sunday, August 25, 13
  22. 22. ...crime lords, and bootlegging king pens, like Al Capone. Sunday, August 25, 13
  23. 23. ...rise in mob violence, which culminated in the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Sunday, August 25, 13
  24. 24. Scandals Sunday, August 25, 13
  25. 25. In 1919, eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the World Series. Sunday, August 25, 13
  26. 26. The Jewish mobster Arnold Rothstein, who funded the scandal (this is an actor from Boardwalk Empire) is fictionalized in The Great Gatsby as Meyer Wolfsheim Sunday, August 25, 13
  27. 27. Citizens lost trust in the police because of cops purchased by organized crime and lost trust in government because of several scandals. Sunday, August 25, 13
  28. 28. The Teapot Dome Scandal The Teapot Dome Scandal occurred in which President Warren G. Harding’s administration allowed oil companies to drill on federal land without putting up a bid. Sunday, August 25, 13
  29. 29. Themes The history of the era contributes to many of the novel’s themes. Sunday, August 25, 13
  30. 30. As American society becomes more materialistic and loses faith in ideals, the green land turns into a valley of ashes. Sunday, August 25, 13
  31. 31. The very wealthy are insensitive to others and exhibit a moral laxness because of their riches. Sunday, August 25, 13
  32. 32. Because he does have a dream, energy, and enthusiasm, Gatsby is superior to the idle rich he wishes to emulate. Sunday, August 25, 13
  33. 33. F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) About the author Sunday, August 25, 13
  34. 34. Many of the events that happen in The Great Gatsby closely resemble those that occurred in Fitzgerald’s life. Sunday, August 25, 13
  35. 35. Quick Facts Sunday, August 25, 13
  36. 36. 1. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota Quick Facts Sunday, August 25, 13
  37. 37. 1. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota Quick Facts 2. Went to Princeton and then went off to join the army* Sunday, August 25, 13
  38. 38. 1. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota Quick Facts 2. Went to Princeton and then went off to join the army* * Nick Carraway does the same in Gatsby Sunday, August 25, 13
  39. 39. 1. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota Quick Facts 2. Went to Princeton and then went off to join the army* * Nick Carraway does the same in Gatsby 3. He is part of The Lost Generation of writers who moved to Europe following the war. Sunday, August 25, 13
  40. 40. 1. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota Quick Facts 2. Went to Princeton and then went off to join the army* * Nick Carraway does the same in Gatsby 3. He is part of The Lost Generation of writers who moved to Europe following the war. 4. While at Princeton, he fell in love with the young socialite, Ginevra King. When Fitzgerald is overseas, she informs him that she’s marrying someone of her social class.** Sunday, August 25, 13
  41. 41. 1. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota Quick Facts 2. Went to Princeton and then went off to join the army* * Nick Carraway does the same in Gatsby 3. He is part of The Lost Generation of writers who moved to Europe following the war. 4. While at Princeton, he fell in love with the young socialite, Ginevra King. When Fitzgerald is overseas, she informs him that she’s marrying someone of her social class.** ** Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby’s love, is modeled on this character Sunday, August 25, 13
  42. 42. Although not in the novel, several movie adaptations of Gatsby have included the line, “Rich girls don’t marry poor boys.” It is believed King said this to Fitzgerald. Sunday, August 25, 13
  43. 43. Fitzgerald’s wife , Zelda, suffered from alcoholism and schizophrenia. Sunday, August 25, 13

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