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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and the Jazz Age

The Great Gatsby The Jazz Age

In 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald said that “An author ought to write for the youth of his generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterwards.” Fitzgerald wrote about what he saw during the 1920’s, which he dubbed “The Jazz Age,” and The Great Gatsby is considered a correct depiction of that era.

After World War I, many Americans felt a distrust toward foreigners and radicals because they held them responsible for the war. These beliefs led to a revival of the Ku Klux Klan, a racist, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic group. This general distrust of liberal movements and foreigners lasted throughout the decade.

In 1920, Harding won in a landslide victory under the campaign promises of returning to “normalcy.” People wanted peace and prosperity and Harding tried to give it to them by returning the United States to its prewar conditions. He established probusiness policies and went against labor unions. He pushed peace by urging disarmament. The Congress passed bills to restrict the number of immigrants coming into the country. Harding was very popular because he returned the U.S. to prosperity, after his death in 1923 it became apparent that his administration was one of the most corrupt in U.S. history. Calvin Coolidge took over and followed Harding’s policies and the prosperity continued.

Young people, disillusioned by their experiences in World War I, rebelled against prewar attitudes and conventions. Women refused to give up the independence they had gained from the jobs the got during the war. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave them the right to vote, and they demanded to be

recognized as equals. Women adopted a masculine look: they bobbed their hair, were more open about sex, quit wearing corsets, and smoked and drank in public. Most Americans were brought up to at least a modest level of comfort. They worked fewer hours and were making more money, so the development of leisure activities became important. Prohibition, enacted by the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919, attempted to get rid of alcohol. Instead of ending the use of alcohol, Prohibition prompted the growth of organized crime.

Exploration of Values in Robinson Crusoe, Odyssey, Tempest and Gulliver’s Travels

Exploration of Values in Robinson Crusoe, The Odyssey, The Tempest and Gulliver’s Travels

In the novels and epics of Robinson Crusoe, The Odyssey, The Tempest and Gulliver’s Travels the reader encounters an adventurer who ends up on an island for many years and then returns back home. These four stories have another point in common: they are all unusually popular. There is something very appealing to the popular imagination about such narratives. In this essay I will explore the vision of life (or at least some aspects of it) which this novel holds out to us and which is significantly different from the others, no matter how apparently similar the narrative form might be.

Very simply put, these four stories have a similar general narrative structure which goes something like this: (a) a member of a sophisticated European society is accidentally cast adrift into the wilderness, where everything is unfamiliar and there are no apparent aids of normal society; (b) the hero must adjust to this strange environment, find some means of coping with the physical and the psychological dislocation; (c) the hero must find a way off the island, and (d) the hero must reintegrate himself into the society from which he unwillingly was alienated.

The casting adrift can happen in any number of ways. Typically it is the result of a shipwreck, a mutiny, or a misadventure of some kind. Adapting to the new environment may or may not involve adjusting to the people who live there. It almost always will require the hero to cope with a very different vision of nature, and he will be forced to confront the fact that in this place things run very differently from what he is used to. This, in turn, may produce al…

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…t what really matters and what does not.

Thus, adventures with isolatos are, or can easily become, an exploration of moral values forced into the awareness of the hero by an unusual circumstance. And this development brings with it inevitably a criticism or a confirmation of the social values (or some of them) of the society of which he is a representative, whose values he brings with him to the island, and to which he returns. Prospero’s rejection of the island and of the magic he so loves, like Odysseus’ rejection of Calypso for his own Penelope, is not just a manifestation of the hero’s moral nature; it is also a confirmation of certain values in the society to which they are returning. Gulliver’s rejection of European society upon his return at the end of the fourth voyage is, in large part, a very severe criticism of the moral laxity of Europe.

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