Luxurious car, magnificent mansion, and a plethora of food and alcohol, this was what came with being a part of the Mafia in the 1920’s. People in the Mafia lived luxurious, cushy lifestyles, while also being able to provide for their family, but as the saying goes, “With every positive there is a negative”. The Mobsters lived well, but that came with the risk of being killed or imprisoned. Jay Gatsby, in the book The Great Gatsby, experienced some of these fears as well the luxurious lifestyle that came with being in the Mafia. Overall most people stayed out of the Mafia due to morals and fear, but the wealth certainly resulted in appeal for some.
During the “Roaring Twenties” in America everyone was seeking wealth. This was the concept of the American Dream, but many came short of this goal that they expected to come with hard work. These people included Jay Gatsby. Gatsby was striving for wealth, but wealth always seemed to elude him, such as when he was promised money as an inheritance from Dan Cody, but Cody’s mistress kept him from getting it. So Gatsby, like many people in the 1920’s, looked for another way to make money. He became part of the Mafia and smuggled alcohol. The Mafia made money in multiple ways. The main way was selling alcohol during the Prohibition. There was a large market for alcohol due to the rise of flappers, women who wore their hair short, drank and smoked, as well as it being the roaring 20’s and most everyone had extra money for spending on alcohol and other things that were not necessities. The sale of alcohol created tremendous revenue for the Mafia, “Illicit alcoholic beverage industries earned an average of $3 billion per year in illegal income” (Bou...
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As shown the Great Gatsby and the Mafia show the negative effect of the American Dream as it corrupts the minds of people. The American Dream gave people the thought that wealth was something that could be achieved with hard work, but many found out that was not true. That was when the American Dream drove people to do illegal things to get rich. That is how the Mafia got its start and as previously stated it used methods such as selling alcohol, forcing people to buy protection, hosting gambling, taking bets, and bribing officials. Gatsby participated in the selling of alcohol so that he could achieve wealth. There was also the downside of being in the Mafia such as fear of being killed or imprisoned as well as having to constantly be on the run from the police. This all goes to show how the Mafia in The Great Gatsby show the bad side of the American Dream.
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