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Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

  • Read three of Fitzgerald's short stories dealing with the Jazz Age and compare and contrast these to The Great Gatsby. Suggested stories are: "The Rich Boy," "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," and "Absolution." Investigate the role of religion and material well-being in Fitzgerald's fiction, based on his life.
  • It is said that Fitzgerald's life mirrored the life of America during the decades of the 1920s and 1930s. Chart the decline and growth of America's economy during this time and draw parallels between them and Fitzgerald's life during those particular periods.
  • Much has been written of the American expatriate writers in Paris. Read a book by or about these authors, such as A Charmed Circle or The Sun Also Rises and define the characteristics of these expatriates, their attitudes to events in the U.S. and Europe, and their choice of lifestyle. Include Fitzgerald's trips to Paris and the Riviera in your observations.
  • Conservative v. liberal elements in society create specific legislation designed to protect the interests of all citizens. Prohibition was one example of the U.S. goverment's attempts to appease those who opposed the overabundance of liquor in the society. What are other examples of this in the field of education in the 1920s? Demonstrate how the conservative/liberal elements operated in other countries at that time.
  • Examine the Dadaist art movement in Europe—as demonstrated in the works of Marcel Duchamps—and compare its tenets and manifestations to the New York adaptation of this popular art form. Note the philosophy behind this movement and relate it to the Wasteland motif in The Great Gatsby.
  • Relate the tales of Bonnie and Clyde's shooting spree, Al Capone's underworld activities, and other major scandals of the times. Examine why gangsterism and crime were romanticized in the Twenties, and why they are romanticized today as well.