The 1920’s more commonly known, as the “Golden Twenties” was a decade that history will forever mourn. The twenties set the stage for many of the most popular social attractions, still seen around the world, nearly a century later. The nickname of the century brought with it much fame, fortune and social celebration following the end of horrific war. People walked to streets feeling jolly and attended lavish parties, regardless the day of the week. Although these “Golden Days” were seen by most of society as a time for celebration and merriment, the era wasn’t without its faults. The “Golden Days” had to make room for a boom; quickly the 1920’s changed, showing renewed focus on global effort for lasting peace. Many sought out bans on alcohol, saying it caused the means by which another war could begin. The 1920’s began to be viewed as a time of correction and reconstruction of one’s moral values, basing them upon things of worth.
These moral and social improvements prompted even more change domestically and international as a new front came about. People stopped viewing these “Golden Twenties” with such levity and instead turned their focus of accomplishing their dreams within a new world. Groups formed and sides were taken on many social and political issues facing the new age. The biggest and most controversial issue however, was the Prohibition of Alcohol. The passing of the 18th amendment, which banned the sale and production of alcohol caused huge conflicts among political and temperance groups. Many expressed their views and dissatisfaction with the government through open retaliation and rebellion, other however wrote. During the now “Roaring Twenties” many novelist like Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about these conflicts. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby became known as on of the most influential tales of that time. Portraying not only prohibition in America, but also showing the effects of moral and intellectual conflict and social divide among people throughout a society.
The effect of prohibition took its tolls on society, formed disunity among common people and was reflected in the way one lived. These disagreements between groups like Anti-Salon League and WCTU (Women Christian Temperance Union) caused major up roaring through communities. In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald writers “Our society’s going to pieces” (Fitzgerald, 74) through a character named Tom, who represents the social upper class in the novel. Perhaps the most important character in the story however is the “Great Gatsby” himself, Fitzgerald represents him in a way that allows you to feel compassion yet contempt for his actions. Like many during that time, people became impatience and began to take matters into their own hands.
The moral and intellectual conflict soon turns the 1920’s in a stage of uprising and conflict. Fitzgerald portrays another interesting character within his novel, this being of a simply man new to the area, in which the setting takes place. Nike Carraway is portrayed as that man, one of which lives next to the “Great Gatsby.” The whole topic of social divide is clearly represented between the relationship of Nick and Gatsby. Gatsby being a mere mock of social rebellion, all in the name of love, while Nick a lost soul falling into a world very different than he once knew. Jay Gatsby however, intrigues Nick “My eyes fell on Gatsby, standing alone on the marble steps and looking from one group to another with approving eyes" (Fitzgerald, 50). Nick represents the example of innocence through Fitzgerald’s description, yet even starting out innocent Nick leaves the age a “changed man.”
"I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby's house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited--they went there" –Nick Carraway (Fitzgerald, 41). Looking back upon all his adventures throughout the book Nick realizes the sorrow that comes up being control but money.
“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vastcarelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up themess they had made” (Fitzgerald, 179)
After the plot shifts and Gatsby is killed out of the selfishness of those who carry no remorse, Nick in enthralled by the fact that one can be so heart less. In regard to the history of moral and intellectual conflict within the story, Fitzgerald actually displays the Prohibition rebellion of the 1920’s through Gatsby’s mighty demise. As a result of social divide in “East and West Egg” Fitzgerald expresses his desires for unity and displays the results of conflict do to immoral desires. Gatsby is seen paying the price for his misfortune and expression of love with Daisy, while Nick fully experiences the effect of punishment for the crimes committed throughout the Prohibition Era.
Our interpretation of society in truly what defines us among it. One who prides themselves with being wealthy must uphold that imagine by whatever means necessary. The conflict resulting from prohibition took an age of “Golden” Living and turned it into a decade remembered for its resolution and strife. Although, not all good or not all bad it is expressed and remember for a reason. George Santayana writes, “Those who cannot remember history’s mistakes are condemned to repeat it,” (Santayan, Memo of Spizan). Therefore one should remember, as Fitzgerald emphasizes in The Great Gatsby, progress comes at a price. In the novel the life of someone loving and good hearted undone by the evil of another’s greed. While these interpretations of Fitzgerald’s only represent factious character, the effects were all but make-believe. The of the results of the 1920’s steamed directly from the social divide and immoral actions of those involved within its conflict, taking a world from the “Golden Days” to a time “Roaring” change.