The Great Gatsby: A Reflection Of The Roaring Twenties
Jazz music is connected to the Great Gatsby as the Jazz Era represents a time where people’s only concern was to have a good time. In the novel, this mentality is represented through Gatsby’s lifestyle as he throws parties that are over the top in order to flaunt his wealth to impress Daisy. Guests attending are treated to a buffet that features glistening hors d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams, pastry pigs and golden turkeys.
Another key defining element of the 1920s is prohibition and it is an integral part of the story as Gatsby makes his fortune through bootlegging. However, prohibition was disregarded by some people during the time and these people became known as bootleggers and would sell alcohol illegally. Gatsby is a bootlegger and makes his fortune through selling grain alcohol at his drug stores. He also serves alcohol at his parties and the guests nobody cared that it was against the law because everyone was only concerned with having a good time. The issue of women’s rights is an important topic when talking about the 1920s as it is the first time women were capable of having more personal freedom and liberties when regarding what they were able to wear. Women began to show skin, smoke, and drink and became known as Flappers. They symbolized the independence and sexual freedom a woman was capable of. The characters that represent the Flappers in the novel are Myrtle and Jordan.
Myrtle is described by Nick as faintly stout, but as someone who carries surplus flesh sensuously and is constantly smoldering. Her mannerisms towards the way she dresses makes her the embodiment of a Flapper. Jordan however, does not represent the sexual freedom of flappers but instead a representation of the social freedoms a woman had in the 1920s. Jordan is a professional golfer which allowed her to interact with the social elite at the time because of this.
The social values of the 1920s were about flaunting wealth and materialism and is connected to the character of Gatsby. During the 1920s the automobile industry boom played a huge role in boosting the economy and due to this increase in money people began to value wealth and status a lot more. As a result people became obsessed with flaunting their wealth and this is reflected in the novel through Gatsby’s party guests. Gatsby throws parties every week in order to boost his reputation as a wealthy man and are over the top with a live band performing, an absurd amount of food, and features his yellow Rolls-Royce taxiing guests to the party. His car is a symbol of his wealth and is used to convey to people that he is a man with class. This works and everyone is attracted towards the myth he has created even though no one knows him as they attended his parties because of the sole reason of them being the talk of the town. This reflects the values of the wealthy in the 1920s as everyone was attracted by wealth and desired to associate with those who had it no matter if they knew them or not.
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