Gatsby History behind the great

Buchanan: A habitational or geographical surname meaning who came from the district of Buchanan in Stirlingshire, a location near Loch Lomond in Scotland. The place name is thought to derive from the Gaelic elements buth, meaning "house" and chanain, meaning "of the canon."
Caraway: It is a result of when they lived on a road near a field or piece of land that was triangular in shape. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English words gara, meaning "triangular piece of land," and weg, meaning "path" or "road."
Prohibition, the ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution (1919), made millionaires out of bootleggers, and an underground culture of revelry sprang up. Sprawling private parties managed to elude police notice, and “speakeasies”—secret clubs that sold liquor—thrived.
Fitzgerald became a second lieutenant, and was stationed at Camp Sheridan, in Montgomery, Alabama. There he met and fell in love with a wild seventeen-year-old beauty named Zelda Sayre. All she wanted was the wealth.

Fitzgerald's book is basically an overview of his relationship and background of this love with Zelda.

Nick Carraway is a young man from Minnesota, educated at an Ivy League school (Yale), who moves to New York after the war. Also similar to Fitzgerald is Jay Gatsby, a sensitive young man who idolizes wealth and luxury and who falls in love with a beautiful young woman (Zelda) while stationed at a military camp in the South. (End of WWI)

The Jazz Age was a post-World War I movement in the 1920s when jazz music and dance became extremely popular. This allowed less strict policies on music, dress and dancing of that era.

The American Dream

Fitzgerald portrays the 1920s as an era of decayed social and moral values, evidenced in its overarching cynicism, greed, and empty pursuit of pleasure. The reckless jubilance that led to decadent parties and wild jazz music—epitomized in The Great Gatsby by the opulent parties that Gatsby throws every Saturday night—resulted ultimately in the corruption of the American dream. (Spark notes Overview)

A·mer·i·can dream

the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.

Through "The Great Gatsby," Fitzgerald is trying to show the audience that life isn't about getting everything your heart can desire. That can lead to risks that may result in unwanted consequences. People have to understand to appreciate what they have and live for themselves.

cosmopolitanism and cynicism (poor vs. rich)

The passing of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919, created a thriving society designed to satisfy the massive demand for bootleg liquor among the rich and poor. "Fitzgerald positions the characters of The Great Gatsby as emblems of these social trends. Nick and Gatsby, both of whom fought in World War I, exhibit the newfound cosmopolitanism and cynicism that resulted from the war. The various social climbers and ambitious speculators who attend Gatsby’s parties evidence the greedy scramble for wealth. The clash between “old money” and “new money” manifests itself in the novel’s symbolic geography: East Egg represents the established aristocracy, West Egg the self-made rich. Meyer Wolfshiem and Gatsby’s fortune symbolize the rise of organized crime and bootlegging," (Spark notes).

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.