The Jazz Age Explored in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

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In the past century in America, one of the decades that has stood out most as a time of change is the 1920s. In a post-war economic boom, the decade was a time of cultural and societal change. Among the parties and the more relaxed way of life, Americans experienced new wealth and luxury. Capturing the essence of the Roaring Twenties is a daunting task, especially because of the many different factors contributing to the decade’s fame. However, F. Scott Fitzgerald managed to capture and define the spirit of the 1920s through his novel. In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the characters and events of the novel manifest the trademark qualities of America in the 1920s.
In the 1920s, a new genre emerged at the forefront of American music: jazz.
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For the young and the wealthy, the wildness and discontinuity of the music were reflected in an increase in carelessness. Along with a changing music scene, America in the jazz age saw vast, post-war economic growth. The immense wealth of the upper class became less rare and the idea of “rags to riches” emerged. According to Bob Batchelor in Gatsby: The Cultural History of the Great American Novel, consumerism made the lavish lifestyle of the wealthy more accessible to lower classes. However, as more people experienced the wealth that had previously been known by a few, the uppermost echelon of American society saw a split: “old money” versus “new money.” Although people could now afford the lifestyle of the upper class, it was an elite circle that could not be penetrated (Batchelor 153). In Gatsby, there is a physical separation of these, seen in the communities of East Egg and West Egg. The division between East and West Egg, physically and socially, is a recurring theme in the novel. It consistently acts as a source of conflict for various characters, and the rift proves unable to be mended. For Jay Gatsby, the gap between the “old money” of East Egg and the “new money” of West Egg is the most daunting obstacle he faces in reuniting with Daisy. His parties, which are the embodiment of the West Egg lifestyle, do not impress Daisy, as she is used to the lifestyle of East Egg. As Gatsby points out, “Her voice is full of money” (Fitzgerald 127). Daisy has

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