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15. Literature between wars, Fitzerald

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F. S. FITZGERALD: THE GREAT GATSBY LOST GENERATION A generation of artists born at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries; after WWI they were mentally(and some also physically)devastated. Some of them personally experienced the horrors of war → they saw how people were killed → after war they were full of disillusionment, they lost belief in “modern“ society - they lost all their ideals and dreams.Those men can’t live in a stereotypical world and they seek for other possibilities – they see comfort in nature – they are, same as their main characters in their books, lostThe name “Lost generation“ was first used byGertrude Stein; but who came with it –plumber he overheard conversation of purpose of life, meaning of life that is why he used the word lostafter the war many writers of this generation were concentrated in Paris.They were lost in company of othersThe best-known personalities: G. Stein, E. Hemingway, F.S. Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Dreiser, Ezra Pound Existecialism = experience oh human subject, purpose of life, importance of the physical world Nihilismus = all values are baseless KIrkegaard WOMEN Women before the roaring twenties: stayed at home, couldn’t inherit, dependent on their husbands → there was practically no possible escape from the marriage and if there was → single women were usually ridiculed, low salary, would not be able to do muchRoaring twenties20th century brought women courage WW1: life is more than house and kids, 1st independence, right to vote, they took care of everything, when the men went to fightFlappers = outgoing women with having short hair, shorts skirts, they were driving cars, smoking, drinking, provocatively dancing in jazz clubs and having casual sexThey rejected the life of their mothers and lived the opposite way1923 women introduced Equal rights amendment to Congress →accepted in 1972 (all discrimination based on sex was now illegal)Pink collar job: education = more available for women of privileged class, they would go to job focused on education, nursing, fashion and social work, still faced discrimination, were payed less than their male co-workers. But they could not say anything → losing the job F. S. FITZGERALD (1896 – 1940) “Jazz Age“ – 20´s – relative prosperity (everything was available, but most people bought on credit); A phenomenon called American Dream appeared and became very popular and fashionable.The time of prohibition and racismHe was the spokesman of the youthHe went to war with enthusiasm, but he soon saw the harsh reality and feared deathHe focused on the problem of social classes, richness and the American dreamHis wife Zelda suffered from schizophrenia and he often used her in his work. They both struggled with alcoholism – to earn money, Fitzgerald wrote scripts in Hollywood Zelda was from a rich family, she was beautiful. She at first didn’t want to live on Fitzgerald’s small salary and broke their engagement. She then came back after his book’s successAll Fitzgerald´s main characters share thefear of poverty and theworship of successWorks:“Tales of the Jazz Age,” “This Side of Paradise,” “East of Ede,” “Tender is the Night”“The Great Gatsby”: Plot: Gatsby is a young man, around thirty years old, who rose from an impoverished childhood in rural North Dakota to become fabulously wealthy. However, he achieves this goal by participating in organized crime, including bootlegging (distributing illegal alcohol) and trading in stolen securities. From his early youth, Gatsby despised poverty and longed for wealth and sophistication. Although Gatsby always wanted to be rich, his main motivation in acquiring his fortune is his love for Daisy Buchanan, whom he met as a young military officer in Louisville before leaving to fight in World War I in 1917. Gatsby falls in love with Daisy’s aura of luxury, grace, and charm, and lied to her about his own background in order to convince her that he is good enough for her. Parallel with F.S. Fitzgerald´s life? Zelda didn’t want to be with Fitzgerald because of his small salary. They were both in army and they met their lover in the same way. Daisy promises to wait for him, but married Tom Buchan in 1919, while Gatsby is studying at Oxford after the war in an attempt to gain an education. Gatsby dedicates himself to winning Daisy back: getting rich, purchase of a sumptuous mansion on West Egg, lavish weekly parties - everything just means to that goal. Fitzgerald delays the introduction of most of this information until fairly late in the novel. Gatsby’s reputation precedes him: Initial presentation of Gatsby: a rather reserved, enigmatic host of the unbelievably opulent parties. surrounds himself with spectacular luxury; attracts powerful men and beautiful women. gossip / source of his wealth shrouded in mystery Analysis: The technique of delayed character revelation emphasizes the theatrical quality of Gatsby’s approach to life - an important part of his personality. (James Gatz → Jay Gatsby reinvention of oneself). Gatsby: an extraordinary ability totransform his hopes and dreams into reality This talent for self-invention: “greatness” (in fact a masterful illusion). Towards the end -Gatsby: innocent, hopeful man who stakes everything on his dreams, not realizing that it is unworthy of him. Gatsby is a tragic figure. He idolized the picture of Daisy and his dream of her disintegrates, revealing the corruption that wealth causes in her. This is the way how Fitzgerald sees the American dream crumbling in the 1920s, as America’s powerful optimism, vitality, and individualism become subordinated to the amoral pursuit of wealth. Compare: Gatsby vs Tom: Tom is a cold-hearted, aristocratic bully, narrow-minded x Gatsby is a loyal and good-hearted man, he doesn’t judge people – he was poor himself. They are both struggle for Daisy. Gatsby vs/and Nick:non-judgemental, G uses Nick at first, but they he genuinely likes him Gatsby vs/and Wilson: share the fact that they both lose their love

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