The 1920’s was a sensational period in American culture. From the age of Jazz, to the struggle amidst gangsters in a time of prohibition, the 1920’s was a time of growth and economic prosperity. When studying any piece of history from this time it is easy to find the opulence that was the 20’s.
The 1920’s has been called the roaring 20’s for its wild lifestyle. It has also been called the golden age, exemplifying the overabundance of prosperity. The Great Gatsby was published in 1925 by Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. It was written in reflection of this happening time period. It flourishes the extravagance of the twenties and the lofty lifestyles of the wealthy. It depicts a time when the United States grew to become an economic powerhouse, only to be slammed by an economic depression in the 1930’s.
This work of classic literature is considered a powerful exemplification of the time period. It captures the carefree lifestyle and culture of the American 1920’s. Fitzgerald himself fell into the vacuum of fame, living a careless and party based lifestyle after gaining attention after his 1920 publication. In his work The Great Gatsby, he mirrors this lifestyle with Gatsby who throws lavish and unparalleled parties in hopes of winning the affections of Daisy, his one true love.
The Roaring Twenties
Though published a half of a decade before the great depression, it is insightful to look back and see how the lifestyle of the 1920’s seemingly lead to the economic collapse in America in the 1930’s. The roaring twenties was an age laced with wealth and power, but it would so quickly crumble into the harsh reality of the depression. Fitzgerald himself suffered with alcoholism due to this bleak and drastic fall. This would in turn hurt his ability to write.
It is notable to take Fitzgerald’s life in to account when looking at The Great Gatsby in detail. Fitzgerald was raised in Minnesota. He was a college dropout, and would later go on to join the army during World War I. While in the military Fitzgerald fell in love with a young woman from Alabama who wished to live a lifestyle of luxury and opulence. She would agree to marry him on the condition that he could prove himself successful and worthy, and he would go on to do just that. In 1920 he was able to convince his love by publishing This Side of Paradise and in turn earning a substantial living and notable social status. It must have been these life events which inspired him to write the literary classic, The Great Gatsby, as it would seem each character reflects an aspect of Fitzgerald.
The Great Gatsby audiobook is, without a doubt, a look back in time. The book, although a work of fiction, is a firsthand account of the time. It is a perfect reflection of the culture, and shy of hopping in a time machine, transports its reader into the heart of Long Island in the summer of 1922. The book, like the period, is gilded in grandeur. It also features a love story of one man who would overcome all adversity to try and win the affections of Daisy, a debutante accustomed to profligate living. Fitzgerald paints a picture of opulence. He shows his readers the perfectly manicured lawns and the endless booze in a time of prohibition. He flaunts the power of Gatsby and how he has created this façade with his wealth. Gatsby is mysterious, having acquired a vast and extensive fortune. It is this mysterious smokescreen which gives him enigmatic allure.
Nick Carraway is the main character who we follow from Minnesota. He relocates to New York one summer in the early 20’s. He has moved to a wealthy area full of people who have found “new money.” He, however, is an outlier for having ties to “old money” on the west end of Long Island. Nick finds himself neighbor to enormous mansion and wild parties. Through his turn of phrase, Fitzgerald brings his reader to the perfectly manicured lawns of Gatsby’s manor, witnessing the spectacle of one of Gatsby’s parties—the music, the raucous laughter, the dancing, and even the calm which would follow as the dawn begins to break.
Nick serves as the eyes and ears of the relationship between Daisy and her husband Tom. Their relationship is at a point where they have suffered betrayal and mistrust. They have fallen into a pattern of complacency. Nick meets a young woman, Jordan Baker, who becomes his love interest. She is contemptuous character who really opens Nick’s eyes to the infidelity of Tom and the disintegration of Tom and Daisy’s marriage. Daisy had married Tom in part for his extensive wealth and the social status it would forge.
After finding himself invited to one of Gatsby’s parties, Nick becomes instrumental in reuniting Daisy and Gatsby by inviting Daisy to tea. Though Nick is the main character, he seemingly takes a backseat through most of the book. The focus is more on watching how Daisy and Gatsby, and Daisy and Tom interact. It is almost as though someone has opened a curtain and allowed the reader to watch through an open window. Daisy had promised to wait for Gatsby, but upon the time in which Gatsby had made such a name for himself, Daisy had already married. It shows how Daisy may have indeed loved Gatsby, but was more worried with wealth and maintaining a luxurious lifestyle. With Tom she was guaranteed wealth and social approval. Gatsby, being of humble roots, has acquired his mysterious wealth all for the want of Daisy’s love and approval, but would it seem to be enough for her? Could she throw away her reputation for love?
Tom and Daisy, though being seemingly estranged and toxic, were cut from the same cloth. Both were consumed by greed and selfishness. Gatsby, in contrast, seems to be a more righteous individual. He displays traits of an antihero. While he has honorable intentions, he is willing to break apart a family to get what he wants. He also has had some potentially shady dealings in order to acquire such money in such a short amount of time. The underlying question of Daisy and Gatsby’s love story would be, can Daisy forsake her own selfishness for the love of Gatsby? Fitzgerald creates a mirror of his own trials in winning the love of his wife. It is a stark contrast of the typical unconditional and undying true love to the story of love bound by greed.
The Great Gatsby audiobook is a heart wrenching love story for the ages. It is a reflection on how social stigmas have changed through the generations. It embraces a time since past. History is merely a reflection of where society has been, and it is a lesson for times yet to come. Classic works, such as this one are what keeps the history vibrant and alive.
The 1920’s were a time of empowerment in the United States. It is the prequel to one of the darkest times in the young nation’s history. Such opulence from this time can only be found in the verse of their music, in the figures of their photos, and the language amongst the pages of a book. The Great Gatsby is a look in the past, and an enduring story for the future. Even the narration of the audiobook by Jake Gyllenhaal seems to make the story come to life; it brings the story to whole new heights through its use of descriptive language and the infusion of culture.