Consumerism In The Great Gatsby Analysis

1397 Words6 Pages
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…
The results of this time of prosperity are woven into evident themes throughout many of these authors’ works. The work of F. Scott Fitzgerald delves into different aspects of consumerism and the importance of material goods to people during this time. The Great Gatsby analyzes the differences between the society of “old money” and the society of “new money.” Differences, also present in reality, between the lavishness and wastefulness of two sets of elites, were displayed throughout the novel. This consumerism in the middle and upper class at this time was fed by the accessibility of products. Not only did technology such as the automobile, the radio and home appliances become more accessible at this time, but the development of manufacturing tools led to the inundation of these products, for less cost, among the mass market. Adding to the usual post-war increase of the economy, the American government added policies that reduced government spending and taxes on the rich, hopefully leading to the “trickle-down effect” among social classes. American socialites and advisors many of the writers, Gerald and Sarah Murphy, left for Paris because they feared they would be trapped within the increasingly harsh business world of America. The writers too did not find any satisfaction with this economic change. The play, The Hairy Ape, by Eugene O’Neill…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

More about Consumerism In The Great Gatsby Analysis

Open Document