My essay topic is about how the 1920s shaped and changed American culture. My essay will specifically focus on how this era in American history changed American literature, fashion, music and film.
American Art and Literature in the 1920s
Some of the chief literary figures of the 1920s included F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Cynical and disillusioned about the world in the post- World War I period, these writers contributed heavily to the developing culture of the 1920s. While most famous for his novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald also wrote This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned during this era. Hemingway contributed to the modern literary movement with other short stories and novels, such as A Farewell to Arms. The 1920s was also widely known for the Harlem Renaissance, a period of African-American literary and artistic cultural growth. Stemming from the mostly African-American populated neighborhood of Harlem, NY, the Harlem Renaissance was mainly fueled by the ideas that a growth of intellect and increase in the production of literature and art could challenge racial stereotypes and quell racial segregation. Some of the most significant novelists of the Harlem Renaissance included Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes.
The Jazz Age- Music and Film of the 1920s
The film industry and Hollywood skyrocketed in the 1920s. Filmkaing was revolutionized as the “talkies,” or sound-synchronized motion pictures, replaced silent films. The first feature-length talking film, The Jazz Singer, was released in 1927. Jazz and jazz-influenced dance music became widely popular during the 1920s, hence why the era became known as “The Jazz Age.” George Gershwin, Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti were iconic musicians of The Jazz Age, being the first to incorporate guitar and violin into jazz. Dance clubs became more popular, featuring live jazz music nightly. A variety of novelty dance moves also developed during this period, such as the Breakaway, the Charleston, and the Lindy Hop, which would eventually evolve into the Swing.
Fashion of the Roaring 20s- The flapper girl
The 1920s were a period of very significant change for women. With the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote in 1920, women began to feel empowered to take control of their own lives. This began a widespread sexual liberation movement for young women, known as the age of the flapper. A flapper was a new, innovative young woman who wore short skirts, bobbed her hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted her disdain for socially acceptable behavior. She rejected strict Victorian gender roles by wearing eloquent makeup, smoking and drinking, driving automobiles, and flouting sexual norms by dancing provocatively with men in underground alcohol clubs known as speakeasies.