The Great Gatsby – Writing Prompt 1
The 1920’s were a time of dramatic changes that affected the economy, society, politics and popular culture. The nation’s total wealth doubled between the years of 1920 and 1929. As modern cities began to develop new buildings and advanced technology, many Americans began to move into the city and started to abandon the rural farm life. This brought a wave of new technologies that could make the modern consumers life easier. The soaring business profits and higher wages gave more Americans the ability to purchase a wide range of consumer products. This gave their modern day society a new outlook on life and brought prosperity to those who were looking for change in their everyday lives.
As people had more free leisure time, they saw their culture start to flourish around them. Literature, film, and music caught up to the masses and began to develop an exciting nightlife for the younger generation. Many significant films were made showing how life in the 20’s was an exciting time to live in. Historians have estimated that by the end of the decade, that three-quarters of the U.S. population visited a movie theater every week. The book the Great Gatsby showcased the main character as a powerful and extravagant man that had an enriched lifestyle that represented the 1920’s.
The introduction to Jazz influenced a lot of young people to visit Jazz clubs in order to dance the night away to local bands. Dance halls like the Savoy in New York City and Aragon in Chicago were very popular and had all the great and influential Jazz groups throughout that era. As the music became more popular, radio stations were looking for ways to broadcast the music to a wider audience. Phonograph records helped Jazz music reach a national audience having sold 100 million records in 1927 alone. Youthful teens of that generation seemed to love this genre of music but older generations objected to it. They saw this new wave of culture as obscene and were uncomfortable with this urban and racy mass culture.
There was also a lot of segregation back then a group known as the Ku Klux Klan spread hatred and prejudice against African Americans and other groups. Klan members held meetings and where they attacked and sometimes killed people they thought were “un-American.” This was very hard for the younger generation because a lot of the new culture had urban roots tied to them. Jazz began among African Americans in the South. Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City, was famous for jazz, art, and literature. Despite these problems the youth still found time to have fun. By the end when the market crashed people saw the folly of their ways. Watching how over spending led them to have no money and what seemed like there wasn’t going to be any changes to their life turned devastating. After the crash many people lost their homes and their prized possessions. All they had left was hope and the desire to live on. This seems to mark a tragic end to there extravagate lifestyles and brought them back to the harsh realities they faced.
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