What is the social historical context behind The Great Gatsby and how does it reflect the time it was written in?
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Set in the 1920s, The Great Gatsby represents a society in turmoil following the First World War. Because of the huge loss of life in Europe, and to a lesser extent the United States, there was a sense of having survived tragedy and a need to celebrate life and youth. Young men and women during this time counted themselves both fortunate to have survived and potentially doomed to die in the next conflict. So an air of decadence prevailed, since the future was not guaranteed. Fitzgerald's novel reflects the lighthearted and carefree attitudes of many of the young socialites of the day, while also creating an air of dread that foreshadows the coming dark days of the Depression and the Second World War.
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