The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald's Prediction and the Great Depression

Famed American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald could not have anticipated what was on the horizon when he penned The Great Gatsby in 1925. Fitzgerald was no prophet, but he seemed to have an innate sensibility that allowed him to step outside of culture of the American Jazz Age and assess its foibles and failures with a critical lens. Fitzgerald’s novel details the wastefulness and frivolity of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, who in many ways function as the consummate symbols of their time. He writes: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made” (187-8). Historians agree the cultural attitudes and habits of 1920s society exacerbated deeper domestic problems that contemporaneously formed and flourished in the years leading up to 1929. In his book The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941, Robert S. McElvaine describes the myriad of socioeconomic, political, and market forces that culminated in what would become the most jarring domestic crisis in modern American history. Further, he argues that the “maldistribution” of wealth was the “...

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