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The Great Gatsby: America in the 1920s | Questions


I. The Not-So-Gay Twenties

1. What is the common cliché concerning life in America during the 1920s? The common cliché was the decade was known as the‘roaring twenties’.
2. What is a more realistic picture of the nation during the decade? The more realistic picture at the time was one of economic growth. New technologies allowed people to have cars and other new inventions. A break from the old to a new more modern lifestyle.
3. What were six negative events or phenomena occurring during the decade (294)? Six negative events or phenomena were President Warren G. Harding dying in office. A lost generation of World War I fighters were members of a disillusioned group like Ernest Hemingway. The generation gap between older and younger generations grew. Prohibition created a new lawless era of violence. The Great Mississippi Flood occurred in 1927 and ended in 1929. The Stock Market crashed.
4. What is the key economic question that has emerged out of the period from 1920 to World War II? How did Americans maintain a high standard of living? The high standard of living ended in the Stock Market crash of 1929. The economic question was how America can keep a high standard of living without going through a depression, or now a recession.
5. What are the three motivating ideals or forces in American life? Three motivating ideals or forces were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

II. Back to Normalcy

6. What are some specific ways that the country felt a sense of “relief” in the 20s (relief from what)? The country felt a sense of relief that America could return to normalcy. The relief was from the ending of WWI.
7. In the 1920s, the average citizen only wanted to be responsible for what three things? The average citizen only wanted to be responsible for work, family, and their personal finances.
8. The author is critical of President Warren G. Harding. About what is critical? He was critical about the scandals of Harding’s presidency. For example, the Teapot Dome scandal. He was also critical about Harding promoting supports to high offices.
9. What is some evidence of an increasing standard of living for the average Americans during the 1920s? Some evidence of the increased standard of living would be the ability to afford cars, entertainment, and other luxuries previously only available to the rich. Everyday people could afford to go to the cinema.
10. The blockquote on page 300 (source provided in footnote 2) speculates on a number of positive possibilities for the prosperity of the ‘20s. What are two negative possibilities mention in the quote? Two negative possibilities were lawlessness and the depression that the prosperity led to.

III. Ballyhoo and the Standard American Citizen

11. What were three contributing factors in the business man’s vision of endless wealth and comfort for all? Three contributing factors in the businessman’s vision of endless wealth and comfort were mass production, demand, and investment.
12. What aspect of business increased significantly during the period (302)? Production was the aspect of business that increased significantly during the period.
13. What does the phrase “hyper-thyroid ballyhoo” mean? To what was it applied? Hyper-thyroid ballyhoo means an avid interest in strenuous sports. In the 20s, citizens did not want to participate in strenuous sports.
14. What social changes regarding sports began to emerge in the 20s? Golf and other sports began to be popular during the social changes regarding sports. A game was played without the violence of football, wrestling, and so forth.
15. According to the text, what did the American public become during the 20s? (303-quoted directly).The American public became more modernized in the 20s.
16. What two changes occurred in the way colleges marketed themselves during the period? Colleges began to market themselves to everyday citizens. They also began to campaign more vigorously for more diverse students.
17. According to the text, what are the characteristics of the “ordinary adolescent of 1925 [and]…most adolescents of all time? The characteristics of ordinary adolescent were ‘dogmatic, emotional, rebellious, amusingly obnoxious, and almost conventional’.
18. What impact did increased college enrollment has on the institution of college itself?
19. What two writers served as social critics during the 20s? What were the targets of their satire? F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis were social critics during the 20s. The targets of their satire were American society. The parties, ludicrous spending, and overall frivolity were criticized, but the American Dream’s failure was also pointed out.

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