Essay about 1920's in The Great Gatsby

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Written during and regarding the 1920s, ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald is both a representation of this distinctive social and historical context, and a construction of the composer’s experience of this era. Beliefs and practises of the present also play a crucial role in shaping the text, in particular changing the way in which literary techniques are interpreted. The present-day responder is powerfully influenced by their personal experiences, some of which essentially strengthen Fitzgerald’s themes, while others compete, establishing contemporary interpretations of the novel.

Dubbed the ‘roaring 20s’, because of the massive rise in America’s economy, this social and historical context is widely remembered for its
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Afterwards, Wilson states, “God knows… everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!” Wilson then looks up at the enormous eyes of Dr T. J. Eckleburg, painted on a billboard in the ‘Valley of Ashes’, an example of the technique of symbolism. These eyes represent the vision of God- all seeing and continually judging the corrupt lifestyle of Americans. Equivalently, the broken-down town and underprivileged community within the ‘valley of ashes’, are symbolic of the manner in which upper-class society has morally broken down. Through this technique, Fitzgerald has created a representation of his own distinct values against the social decline of morals within his own context and is persuading responders of all eras to accept this view.

During the 1920s however, Fitzgerald’s values were far less widespread. While not openly accepted, affairs were often concealed behind loose pretence, as the community turned a ‘blind eye’. When ‘The Great Gatsby’ was first published, society’s attitude towards men cheating on their wives would have been considered fairly normal. In the following quote from the text, it is possible to see how Fitzgerald has represented an accepted 1920s belief that women were the inferior sex. “I asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept.” In the
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