What social influences shaped F. Scott Fitzgerald's writings?
“It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire.” -- Echoes of the Jazz Age
F. Scott Fitzgerald could be called the King of the Jazz Age, and his wife, Zelda, was a queen among the flappers. During the 1920s, the Fitzgeralds lived the high life in New York City. During a time of prohibition and progress, Fitzgerald was met with many contradictions, such as debauchery vs. temperance, women’s liberation vs. religious suppression, and the dichotomy between social classes. In The Great Gatsby, the title character, Jay Gatsby, a man who rarely drinks, was the opposite of the alcoholic Fitzgerald. However, coming from a middle class background, Fitzgerald faced many of the same obstacles that Jay Gatsby did when making a name for himself in the world of wealth he found himself in as an adult. For example, Fitzgerald fought to gain acceptance among his society wife's family and only did so once his writing career took off. This struggle is often reflected in his work. We as readers can see Fitzgerald's disdain and reverence for the wealthy. At this time in America, many people were climbing into the upper classes due to success in the stock market. New money, which is something that Fitzgerald also discusses in his work, became a catch phrase, indicating families recently brought into wealth. Opportunity knocked for many Americans, and Fitzgerald loved taking note of all of the changes going on around him. The author had much material to write about the high life as he continued to spend a great deal of time among the wealthy. Eventually, F. Scott and Zelda began to move among the expatriates of France during the 1920s. This artists’ community abroad, where the isolationist ideals developed in America following World War I were rejected, was his home for years before he returned to America. These are just some of the influences reflected in Fitzgerald's work.
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