The Great Gatsby


Overview of the 1920s 

The 1920s was a decade of exciting social changes and profound cultural conflicts. For many Americans, the growth of cities, the rise of a consumer culture, the upsurge of mass entertainment, and the so-called "revolution in morals and manners" represented liberation from the restrictions of the country's Victorian past. Sexual mores, gender roles, hair styles, and dress all changed profoundly during the 1920s. But for many others, the United States seemed to be changing in undesirable ways. The result was a thinly veiled "cultural civil war," in which a pluralistic society clashed bitterly over such issues as foreign immigration, evolution, the Ku Klux Klan, prohibition, women’s roles, and race.

The 1920s was the first decade to have a nickname: “Roaring 20s" or "Jazz Age." It was a decade of prosperity and dissipation, and of jazz bands, bootleggers, raccoon coats, bathtub gin, flappers, flagpole sitters, bootleggers, and marathon dancers. It was, in the popular view, the Roaring 20s, when the younger generation rebelled against traditional taboos while their elders engaged in an orgy of speculation. But the 1920s was also a decade of bitter cultural conflicts, pitting religious liberals against fundamentalists, nativists against immigrants, and rural provincials against urban cosmopolitans.


You will be completing a webquest as an introduction the The Great Gatsby and the Roaring Twenties.


Please type responses to questions on a separate google doc. 

Before reading: 

It is important to understand the concept of the American Dream prior to reading and researching about the 1920s. 

The definition of the American Dream was coined, or created, by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.

Henry Ford and the Motorcar

The 1920s was a time of industrial revolution and mass production. As a result of this, the culture of the 1920s was greatly influenced by consumerism which is a society that is driven by buying commercial products.

1) What did the motorcar represent in the 1920s?

2) How did Henry Ford revolutionize American industry and what did it do for car production?

3) What other products were mass produced as a result of the production line? How did the production line effect society?

4) Explain leisure time.

5) What was the result of new selling and advertising techniques?

Prohibition, Bootlegging, and Mobsters

Watch the following video and answer the viewing questions in complete sentences.  


1) Define Prohibition.

2) Who were the "Wets" and the "Dries"? What were their opinions concerning alcohol consumption?

3) What was the date Prohibition went into effect?

4) Define bootlegging.

5) What was a Speakeasy?

6) What was the 21st Amendment and what did it allow?

Watch the following video and answer the viewing questions in complete sentences. 


1) Who did Capone work for after he left school?

2) How did Capone earn the nickname "Scarface"?

3) Why was Big Jim Colosimo assassinated?

4) What was Capone finally arrested for?

5) What was the name of the prison where Capone served his time and why was he released early?

Watch the following video and answer the viewing questions in complete sentences.  




1) What was Luciano the father of in America?

2) When Luciano became involved with criminal activity, what were the names of the men he teamed up with?

3) In 1931, why did Luciano facilitate the murders of Big Jim Colosimo and Joe "The Boss" Masseria?

4) Briefly explain the purpose and function of Luciano's Commission.

5) Why was Luciano released from prison?


And All That Jazz...

Listen to the video link below to get an idea of what music in the 1920s was like!



Use the link below to answer the following questions about the Jazz Age…


1) How was the Jazz Age characterized?

2) How was the youth of the 1920s influenced by Jazz music?

3) Describe the influence of the radio on 1920s culture.

4) What were the names of two female singers who gained respect during the Jazz Age?



The picture to the left is Clara Bow. She was an American actress who starred in silent films during the 1920s. She was the "It Girl" for Flapper fashion. Because of her, many women began doing their makeup and hair to resemble hers which solidified the Flapper look.

The picture to the right is Louise Brooks. Like Bow, she was another actress who starred in many silent films. She popularized the bob haircut that became the symbol of the Flapper in the 1920s.

Use the following link to answer the questions. Please make sure your responses are in complete sentences.

1) Where did the term "Flapper" originate and who was the label given to?

2) What was the name of the designer who helped popularize Flapper fashion?

3) How did Flappers shock conservatives?

4) How did Clara Bow define the Flapper?

5) What restrictions were put on Flappers and what finally brought the Flapper Era to an end?

The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Watch the following video and answer the viewing questions in complete sentences. 


1) What happened when Fitzgerald was 13?

2) Why did Fitzgerald have to leave college and what did he do afterwards?

3) What was the name of his first novel? What was he able to do after it was published?

4) Why did Fitzgerald write so many short stories and screenplays?

5) What were the two things that Fitzgerald struggled with and what do you think was a contributing factor to those struggles?