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The Roaring

Twenties
• The Roaring Twenties is a term about life
in the U.S.A and the Western Europe,
particularly in major cities such as Berlin,
Paris, London.
• It was a boisterous(loud, clamorous)
period characterized by rapidly changing
lifestyles, financial excesses, and the fast
pace of technological progress.
• At the end of World War I, society
experienced a dramatic shift. Shaking
off the misery and shell-shock, young
people broke with traditional values
and embraced all things modern. As
the young men came face to face with
the horrors of trench warfare, women
entered the workforce in numbers
which had been unprecedented.
• The Roaring 20s, or the Jazz Age, as it is also
known, was a time in which life felt like it was
moving in fast forward.
• Hedonism and liberation were in, and the
movement of the flappers forever changed the
role of women in our society.
• The most familiar symbol of the “Roaring
Twenties” is probably the flapper: a young
woman with bobbed hair and short skirts who
drank, smoked and said what might be termed
“unladylike” things, in addition to being more
sexually “free” than previous generations.
• In the Jazz Age, the wasp waist and womanly
bust favored by the previous generation fell out of
favor, replaced by a boyish silhouette. The ideal
flapper figure was slender with a straight waist
and a flat chest (achieved by use of
undergarments, if not through nature). The boyish
form of the flapper was emphasized by the
straight drop waist shift dresses which are the
epitome of flapper style.
• In reality, most young women in the 1920s
did none of these things (though many did
adopt a fashionable flapper wardrobe), but
even those women who were not flappers
gained some unprecedented freedoms.
• They could vote at last: The 19th
Amendment to the Constitution had
guaranteed that right in 1920. Millions of
women worked in white-collar jobs (as
stenographers, for example) and could afford
to participate in the burgeoning consumer
economy.
New forms, new ideas
• After the war, the influence of international
literary movements on the various homegrown
American poetic and literary movements
resulted in the triumph of high literary
Modernism. Authors of the period struggled to
understand the changes occurring in society.
While some writers praised the changes others
expressed disappointment in the passing of the
old ways.
• Reading was a popular recreational activity especially
during the winter months when other forms of activity
were limited. Prior to radio and television most people
gained knowledge of the wider world and current
events through printed material. Consequently books,
newspapers and magazines were an important part of
most peoples lives and formed a large part of their
wider education. A knowledge of the classics was
considered an essential part of a good education and
a well-rounded home library considered a sound
investment.
• Magazines of the period (especially women's
magazines) are full of short stories or serials (usually
illustrated) to entertain their readers, along with
cooking recipes, interior decorating tips, house designs,
biographies, crafts, clothing fashions, and advertising.
• Books That Define the Period
 The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot - The ultimate indictment of the
modern world's loss of personal, moral, and spiritual values.
 The New Negro by Alain Locke - A hopeful look at the negro
in America
 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - The American dream
that anyone can achieve anything
 Strange Interlude by Eugene O'Neill - A look at 30 years in the
life of a modern woman
 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway - The lost
generation of expatriates
 Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis - A satirical look at small town life
 The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner - Details the
moral decay of the Old South
 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston -
Black life in a Black community
• The new sounds of jazz impregnated the era,
shaking off the melancholy blues and
becoming the first internationally recognized
American music. Manifestos declared a wide
variety of techniques in art, literature, and
poetry, and in some sense it was technique
itself that most interested the artists.
• Jazz is a music genre that originated
amongst African Americans in New
Orleans, United States, in the late
19th and early 20th centuries, and
developed from roots
in Blues and Ragtime. Since the
1920s jazz age, jazz has become
recognized as a major form of
musical expression.
• The pantheon of performers and singers from the
1920s include Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Joe
"King" Oliver, James P. Johnson, Fletcher
Henderson, Paul Whiteman, Adelaide Hall and Bing
Crosby.

Bing Crosby Louis Armstrong


• Prohibition was another one of the main influences on
1920s culture. The 18th Amendment went into effect
on January 16, 1920, banning the manufacture, sale,
transportation, and importation of alcoholic beverages.
The ban on the consumption of liquor was missing
from the law. As neighborhood bars shuttered their
doors, it did not take long for the emergence of one of
the icons of the Roaring 20s: the speakeasy. These
underground saloons were the playground of the
flapper and her male counterpart, who went there to
enjoy cocktails, live music, and dancing. Prohibition did
much more than that, of course; it also brought about
the rise of organized crime, gangsters, rum-runners and
all sorts of other unsavory characters.
• Prohibition was not the only source of social tension
during the 1920s. The Great Migration of African
Americans from the Southern countryside to
Northern cities and the increasing visibility of black
culture discomfited some white Americans. Millions
of people in places like Indiana and Illinois joined
the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. To them, the Klan
represented a return to all the “values” that the fast-
paced, city-slicker Roaring Twenties were trampling.
• As exciting as the Jazz Age was, all good things
must come to an end. This particular decade-
long party came to a screeching halt with the
stock market crash on October 29, 1929.
• The events in the United States added to a
worldwide depression, later called the Great
Depression, that put millions of people out of
work across the world throughout the 1930s.