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John F. Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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We often desire what we cannot have and ponder on what could have been. Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, explored the clandestine lives of the rich and affluent; especially that of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby’s wealth, however, came at a cost. Gatsby is an aficionado in the licit world of fashion and glamour, as well as the world of bootlegging and corruption. Fitzgerald insinuates that Gatsby’s ill-gotten wealth came from bootlegging operations during the prohibition era. Corruption ultimately led to the rejection of the American Dream.
A novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald takes place in two of the most affluent towns of Long Island; West and East Egg. West Egg, was a place of the “nouveau riche” or new money. This is where Jay Gatsby settled down in his majestic mansion. Just across the bay, sits Tom Buchanan’s mansion on the East Egg of Long Island. During the prohibition era, many people like Jay Gatsby, became instant millionaires in the alcohol smuggling business. With their new found wealth, they were propelled into the top of the social pyramid. As with any successful criminal operation, corruption is the key to keeping the officials off your back. The introduction of Gatsby’s business partner, Meyer Wolfshiem led to the presumption that Gatsby was well connected. Fitzgerald’s novel supports this in which Gatsby says “He’s the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919… they can’t get him, old sport. He’s a smart man”(The Great Gatsby 78). On another occasion, Gatsby was pulled over for speeding; he flashed the police officer a card and was let off. “Taking a white card from his wallet he waved it before the man’s eyes…Know you next time Mr. Gatsby” (The Great Gatsby 72). Although Fitzgerald does not specificall...

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...he prohibition era served as a catalyst, fueling the lucrative bootlegging industry, churning out multi-millionaires (like Gatsby) every other day. Coming from a lower class background, Gatsby could not resist blowing his new money on parties, clothing, and cars, let alone pursue the love of his life. He fell into a delusional state in which he believed that his money could buy anything.
Gatsby, unsatisfied with his humble origins, wanted a life of sumptuous parties, fancy clothing, and the woman of his dreams. This led him to the corrupt underground world of illegal operations, especially the smuggling of alcohol. The 1920’s marked a decade of loose moral and social values. People were engaged in an era of consumerism as displayed by Gatsby’s parties. This hindered the pursuit of more righteous goals which in turn led to the rejection of the American ideals.
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