For much of the beginning of Debussy's school days it was found to be that innovation and experimentation in music was met with much rejection. Many citizens of the time refused to move forward from the Classical Era to the Romantic Era.
Because of this, Debussy was met with much hostility when it came to composing. Many of his teachers criticized Debussy's attempt at new styles and told him to stick to what was being done at the time.
As time passed, though, society became more accepting. With the industrial revolution on rise society began enjoying large, contrasting sounds in music. As the demand grew, Debussy found himself in his element. As well, opera became increasingly popular.
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On the other side of life, though, were the slums. As the upper class rose the lower class sank even lower. Debussy himself was on the lower scale of the middle class. Poor and depressed for much of his life, Debussy was forced to take loans from many people or else live with friends and family.
Towards the end of Debussy's life World War I was on the rise. With soldiers off to war and bombings surrounding the city fewer people wanted to listen to music and their interest became solely that of the war. Debussy was forced to live at the Grand Hotel for a period of time in order to escape the problems of war. It became so bad that Debussy wasn't even able to have a proper burial when he passed away from cancer. Because of the deserted city, Debussy was forced to be buried in a temporary grave until the fighting receded.