If Fitzgerald's description of the party in chapter in the novel "The Great Gatsby" by Fitzgerald three can be said to assess the stages of the Jazz Age, what does it tell us?

Essay by Paulos January 2004

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The Jazz Age, as appropriately named by Fitzgerald himself consists of economic, material and moral confusion. Standards were what would be seen as immoral by the majority of contemporary reflection, yet the twenties provided a majestically poetic shrouding over the conduct of the 'men and girls'. Within chapter three, Fitzgerald progresses through five stages of this age in the form of social interactions and imagery amalgamated through a party hosted by Gatsby.

The initial feeling provided is a 'calm after the storm' effect portrayed by soothing colours and music, 'In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.' However the blue gardens are only illuminated by unnatural light provided by Gatsby, thus attracting the 'moths'. The confusion of people resembles that of a moths searching for a solution by heading towards the wonder and mystique that lights can provide.

As everything is set in the present tense, there is an implication of permanence with no change in sight for these lost souls.

Numbness follows relief; a sense of deprivation of youth due to the time that war snatched away from the people. Expressing oneself has become more of an obligation than a liberty. The orchestra sets the tone of the evening leaving a want for spontaneity and distinctive feeling. Strangers engage in light hearted conversation desperate for some kind of sentiment, "You don't know who we are," said one of the girls in yellow, "but we met you here about a month ago". This expresses insincerity of social interactions.

This is followed by the hysteria, the partying and the confusion. Again colour is mentioned in the form of a 'gas blue' dress, with blue possibly signifying the girl's naivety. Many people are at a loss when...