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Great Gatsby Background Notes February 18, 2008. F. Scott Fitzgerald 1. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1896, family lived off his mother’s inheritance.

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Presentation on theme: "Great Gatsby Background Notes February 18, 2008. F. Scott Fitzgerald 1. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1896, family lived off his mother’s inheritance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Great Gatsby Background Notes February 18, 2008

2 F. Scott Fitzgerald 1. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1896, family lived off his mother’s inheritance 2. Attended Princeton for a year, then joined the army in Zelda 1st broke off engagement because she was unwilling to live on his small salary in the advertisement business Later married him in 1920 after his first novel This Side of Paradise was successful 4. They had frequent domestic rows and their daughter “Scottie” attended boarding school

3 Fitzgerald cont’d 5. Started writing Great Gatsby while in France in 1924 Gatsby received great praise from critics but disappointing sales 6. Met Ernest Hemingway in Paris, then unknown as a writer 7. Zelda had a mental breakdown and spent the rest of her life in sanitariums starting in 1932 Zelda wrote an autobiography while a patient, angering her husband for stealing his material 8. Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in 1940 with his obituaries calling him a failure as a writer

4 Fitzgerald Clip

5 The Lost Generation 1.Phrase “the lost generation” first coined by Gertrude Stein but popularized by Ernest Hemingway 2.Refers to the generation of young people coming of age in the US during and shortly after WWI 3.They were disillusioned with the large number of casualties during WWI and prudish Victorian notions of morality 4.Some complained that American art lacked breadth of European work, causing them to spend large amounts of time in Europe 5.They produced jazz music - first distinctly American art form 6.Five members include Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Cole Porter and F. Scott Fitzgerald

6 Flappers in the Roaring Twenties 1.Before WWI the Gibson Girl with long straight skirts and high collars was fashionable - allowing women to participate in sports like golf 2.WWI vets found it difficult to settle down to a humdrum routine as if nothing had happened After nearly a generation of men died at war, women were not willing to waste away their youth waiting for spinsterhood, but decided to enjoy life

7 Flappers cont’d 3. Flappers described young girls in the US and Britain who were ideally “lovely, expensive and about nineteen” 4. Defined as “a giddy, attractive and slightly unconventional young thing…inclined to revolt against the precepts and admonitions of her elders” 5. New trends included losing corsets and dropping waists to the hipline, hair was bobbed and more makeup was worn

8 Prohibition 1.1st began in the 1840s by Methodists, revived in 1880s with Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Prohibition Party and the Anti- Saloon League in 1900s 2.The 18th amendment enacted Prohibition from The 19th amendment granted women the vote 3. 18th amendment specifically prohibited the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within or into the US” but the the Dry Law allowed small quantities of home made wine for personal use 4. Mississippi was the last state to repeal in Social problems included the black market and racketeering when powerful gangs corrupted law enforcement agencies 6. Three fun facts = the KKK strongly supported Prohibition, Carrie nation fought for Prohibition by destroying bottles with a hatchet, and other activists enforced by entering saloons singing and praying

9 Prohibition Clip

10 Long Island 1.Fitzgerald lived in Great Neck area of Long Island which became West Egg in the book 2. Long island is almost 1400 square miles with a current population of 7.5 million 3. So named because it is much longer than it is wide but the Native American name was Paumanok meaning “the island that pays tribute”

11 Long Island cont’d 4. Known for affluence and high quality of life (2nd richest county in New York State behind Manhattan) 5. Suffolk county known for its beach towns, including the renowned Hamptons 6. Also known for its strong middle class and people committed to family living and community events

12 Stoddard’s Rising Tide of Color 1.Usually paired with racism and white supremacy 2.Written in Stoddard argued that the number of non-whites was growing rapidly and would soon overtake the white hegemony 4.Stoddard thought the Japanese were the most serious threat with highly intelligent children who could quickly overtake Western techniques 5.Stoddard’s “hope” for the future is that whites would rediscover that “race is destiny” 6.Similar books of the time include Mankind at the Crossroads and Race and National Solidarity

13 Black Sox Scandal 1.Cincinnati Reds beat Chicago White Sox 5 games to 3 - but it was fixed! 2.“Sleepy Bill” Burns and Billy Maharg first initiated, getting white sox players Ed Cicotte and Arnold “Chick” Gandil’s initial support 3.Eight players were indicted and banned for life 4.“Shoeless” Joe Jackson seemed relatively innocent because he set a record with 12 hits and the only home run hit during the entire series 5.“Shoeless” Joe is quoted saying before he died, “I am going to meet the greatest umpire of all - and He knows I’m innocent.”


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