After the First World War, a period of economic recession persisted for more than a year. Nations encountered an economic deflation as their recuperation, suffering a period of depression. People having their wages earned from the war are not enough, and as returnees, the unemployment from the civil labor force rose up. Such is the adjustment from the wartime to the peacetime economy.
Then the breaking year came. Economists believed that there is a necessity for the economic adjustment to give way to economic progression. Like the cycle of life, the start of 1922 is a start of a change for the economic lifestyle of the Americans, and liberalization of the economic policies. Roaring twenties became a decade of widespread prosperity – Government growth policies, booming construction as industry and the rapid growth of automobiles. This is also the year where American people are reintroduced to consumerism – since one has adequate fund sources, you are encouraged to spend it in consumer goods.
These golden years also influenced the American Society, having the radio as the most expensive medium, and influencing the societal breakthrough. Many people are being engaged in music, particularly the Jazz as musical genre. Not only had that, but also of the influences brought about by modernization and urbanization, having increased liberal views of sex, alcohol, drugs and homosexuality. The isolationist theory gave way to enhancement of the White Supremacy idealism, having xenophobic tendencies towards the minorities and the foreign.
I may not be an American, and this novel may not be my required read, but in the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, no matter how short the novella is, American situation in the roaring years have been reflected in the sceneries and the characters of The Great Gatsby. Known as a required read for American schools, the story is about Jay Gatsby and his escapades, businesses, and engagements, as told by Nick Carraway, his friend from the World War. Gatsby loves to hold large parties, as he enjoys the intimacy of it, and hoping that one day this will be known to his loved-one named Daisy Fay-Buchanan, who by the way, is married with Tom. It also includes side stories of Tom’s mistress named Myrtle Wilson who is married with George, and Daisy’s friend named Jordan Baker who later became Nick’s girlfriend; and Gatsby’s long-time friend named Meyer Wolfshiem.
Readers may find this classic appealing since it has a love story element and action delivered in a language that is easy to understand. It may be very much different from other classics (like Tolstoy and the Bronte sisters), but for me, this novel best described the American dream, the social politics and human aspiration, and the excesses of the rich and recklessness of the people. I shall not dwell much into detailing the story since an upcoming movie adaptation is coming soon in Manila theatres.
But if one is really curious, the green light is the poetic delivery of the author describing the character's resolve and his aspirations for greater heights - reaching the American dream. One having this scene being written in words that are in form of tall tales is very much remarkable.
citations from chapter 1: “…he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away…”