A person from any social background could, potentially, make a fortune. Additionally, the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919, which banned the sale of alcohol, created a booming illegal industry designed to satisfy the massive demand for bootleg liquor among the rich and poor. Fitzgerald positions the characters of The Great Gatsby as symbols of these social trends. Nick and Gatsby, both of whom fought in World War I, exhibit the newfound cultural diversity and skepticism that resulted from the war. The various social climbers and ambitious speculators who attend Gatsby’s parties illustrate the greedy scramble for wealth.
In the 1920s, prohibition, the ban on alcohol is in full force in order to better society, alcohol was seen as the corrupter of people’s judgement. Ironically prohibition caused society to decay, despite the many boons happening at the time. Beneath the seemingly prosperous country lies corruption, inequality, and despair. The corruption is so obvious, that author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a book on this subject called The Great Gatsby. His main character, Jay Gatsby, spent his whole life trying to become rich enough to win the heart of a now married Daisy.
The immorality of the characters of Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan is due to the corrupted values popularized by the American Dream. This statement can be confirmed with the importance given to consumerism by Gatsby and his illegal act, and the supposedly superiority and the selfishness of Tom. The American society gives to Jay Gatsby immoral values and it also corrupts him by the importance given to money. Gatsby’s first contact with the American Dream is when he discovers Cody’s big yacht: “[…] that yacht represented all the beauty and glamour in the world” (Fitzgerald 100). Cody is a man who makes his fortune with metal and who become alcoholic.
Ever since the Roaring Twenties, the american gangster has been glorified and romanticized as a sort of modern day Robin Hood. The very name conjures up images of pleasantly smoky speakeasies, flappers in glittering gowns, and hard-livin', fast-talkin' gangsters (YAHOO). Yet pictures of costly silken suits and diamond encrusted pocket watches hardly seem like fitting attire for the likes of common mobsters. It seems inconceivable that they could have hit enough people over the head to afford such luxuries. Respectable working families looked up to these rough riders as the ultimate success story demonstrating the survival of the fittest and the ingenuity of the American man.
Gatsby’s steadfast determination to reconstruct his past led to his demise. Furthermore, Gatsby's capacity to forgive, his idealistic dream of loving Daisy, and his ability to make a name for himself demonstrated his “greatness”. In the first few chapters, it was inconceivable to imagine Jay Gatsby as “great.” His involvement in clandestine business affairs with Meyer Wolfshiem led to shocking theories as to how he amassed his wealth and lived an ostentatious lifestyle. Meyer Wolfshiem was a gambler “who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919.” Through a personal investigation to discredit Gatsby, Tom Buchanan (Daisy’s husband) confirmed that Gatsby was indeed a bootlegger. “He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side street drug stores and sold grain alcohol over the counter… I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong.” Gatsby’s sole motivation for his corrupt dealings was to acquire enough power and money to court and to win back Daisy’s affections.
Gatsby is living the so-called “American Dream” after spending a period of his life striking it rich by smuggling grain alcohol as a bootlegger. The effects of Gatsby’s riches on himself and people around him are comparable to how alcohol causes self-destructive behavior and bad judgment in people when ingested in large amounts. Gatsby strived to gain his wealth in order to become high-class enough to be with Daisy, Tom’s wife who fell... ... middle of paper ... ...that he can run away from his problems because he can hide away in his money. The estates owned by Tom and Gatsby help us make the above connections between the two and their associated liquids. The connections allow you to look further into what effects money has on Gatsby and Tom, and what effects they have on other characters.
Many officials ended up being bribed into not reporting the bootleggers, which did not reduce the crime at all. The second reason for the failure of prohibition was that gangs and criminals moved into the bootleg business, and were making so much money that they were feared and would also bribe the authorities, judges and officials to co-operate with them. The gangsters caused massacres and the St Valentines Massacre was a turning point for prohibition. People started to realise the dramatic failure of the law, and so when the Wall Street crash and the depression hit the USA in the early 1930s' it was obvious that legalising alcohol would create jobs helping people out of the depression. With all these problems, people were still getting drunk, so even with the law drunkenness hardly decreased.
Capone was also able to avoid the federal government and hide all of his illegal activities but was charged for tax evasion. Overall, Al Capone is one of the most infamous gangsters in American history. He built a massive empire on popular illegal activities of the 1920s. He fascinated the public until the horrendous murders became very public and the worst economic times of America set in. The mob age began to settle down.
Accurately established by many historians, the capitalists who shaped post-Civil War industrial America were regarded as corrupt “robber barons”. In a society in which there was a severe imbalance in the dynamics of the economy, these selfish individuals viewed this as an opportunity to advance in their financial status. Thus, they acquired fortunes for themselves while purposely overseeing the struggles of the people around them. Presented in Document A, “as liveried carriage appear; so do barefooted children”, proved to be a true description of life during the 19th century. In hopes of rebuilding America, the capitalists’ hunger for wealth only widened the gap between the rich and poor.
Immoral behavior is shown at Jay Gatsby’s parties in the poor behavior of the guests and the illegal activities there. Also, Gatsby himself, the story of his journey to riches, and his love for Daisy shows many signs of moral corruption. These symbols each show how the values in America are diminishing and they have other deeper meanings as well. The Valley of Ashes is a large poverty-ridden area filled with ashes that sits between two very rich cities, West Egg and New York City. The characters in the story have to drive through this depressed area every time that they go to the city.