Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Great Gatsby - The Setting

Hello everyone, welcome to the book discussion of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Many of you are just receiving your free copies of the book today, kindly provided by the National Endowment for the Arts through The Big Read program. If you haven't stopped by your library yet, try to get there today. Each public library in Las Vegas will have 50 free copies of The Great Gatsby to give away. When they're gone, they're gone. Even if you get there too late for a free copy, you should still be able to check out a copy. (While you're at the library, be sure to pick up your Reading Las Vegas book bag!)

The Great Gatsby takes place in the summer of 1922, in and around Long Island, New York. (Fitzgerald calls the major locations "East Egg" and "West Egg".) You can see an excellent map showing the area, labeled with the Eggs. (Note, this is a High School report website, so take any content with a grain of salt.)

East Egg is more commonly known as Manhasset Neck. West Egg is more commonly known as Great Neck. The general area is commonly known as North Hempstead.

In Gatsby, East Egg was the upper class area. West Egg was strictly nouveau riche.

Putting the time in context, here are events that happened in late 1921 and early 1922:
Warren Harding is President of the United States
July 1921: Adolph Hitler becomes F├╝hrer of the Nazi Party in Germany.
August 1921: The United States ends World War I, declaring peace with Germany.
September 1921: First Miss America pageant
November 1921: Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics
January 1922: Insulin used for the first time to treat diabetes
January 1922: Pope Benedict XV dies. (Pius XI succeeds him in February)
February 1922: First issue of Reader's Digest published
February 1922: Radio is used for the first time in the White House
March 1922: USS Langley is commissioned by the US Navy as the first aircraft carrier
April 1922: Women are permitted to run for public office in Massachusetts
May 1922: Construction begins on Yankee Stadium, and the Lincoln Memorial is dedicated

Let's get the discussion started with this question: Is this the first time you've read Great Gatsby? If you've read it before, about how long ago was it? What did you think of it then? What's the thing you remember most from the book?

Use the Comments link below to join the discussion!

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