Great Gatsby Influences

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Imagine Paris circa 1925. This is the city of light, the creative capital of the world: automobiles are accessible, modern art as well as jazz music is starting to take off, and the Great War is over. Back in America, women have the right to vote, the economy has never been better, and prohibition is in full swing. Despite all these developments, most positive, many have never felt so empty. However still, literary geniuses such as T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald all found inspiration after WWI in Paris; the city that, at this time, beckoned many artists on account of its wealth of inspiration. Gertrude Stein, advisor for many of these writers said, “You are all a lost generation,” describing perfectly their irresolute…show more content…
Literary movements were making huge strides in development as the Harlem Renaissance was underway in Northeastern America and the Lost Generation was emerging in Europe. In Paris all kinds of art movements such as the Cubists, Surrealists, and jazz culture were prominent as well. The Great Gatsby featured a lot of these cultural changes and the norms during this time period. In particular, Fitzgerald demonstrates the emptiness and lack of morals in the wealthy upper class through his characters as well as represents their carelessness and rather whimsical materialistic lifestyle. However, one of the more positive aspects of this society is also represented in this novel, as well as many other works produced by this group. Women are shown more liberally than ever before as the stereotypical “flapper.” The flapper was the modern woman of the day with shorter hair as well as a shorter, looser and more masculine wardrobe. The flapper also possessed a sense of independence that was not seen in women of previous generations. Poetry of the author T.S. Eliot also explores the new developing gender roles of women and men which was influenced by the changing status of women after the women’s suffrage movement and the establishment of the 19th amendment in 1920. As well as writing about the new role that women had, T.S. Eliot wrote about the new modern man. More cynical yet self-aware, this man was featured in poems such as “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Some of T.S. Eliot’s other work has themes of humanity’s demise, which was what many people viewed their situation to be. Winter Dream by F. Scott Fitzgerald also revealed many aspects of the negative side of the “American Dream.” Some of this novel’s themes emulated a distaste for the American ideals; an attitude which many of the authors of the Lost Generation
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