The Roaring 20’s and Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his novel The Great Gatsby to be a reflection of the 1920’s, as so he included many of the major changes to occur during the time. Some of the changes that are featured in the book are prohibition, organized crime, the women’s suffrage music, jazz music, and the financial boom. Prohibition was the constitutional ban on the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States from 1920 to 1933. The movement was mostly the doing of a religious minority, and many people had no moral qualms with drinking and were perfectly willing to buy alcohol illegally. Because of these reasons fortunes could be made smuggling it in. Fitzgerald uses prohibition in The Great Gatsby in three ways. The first way is he has Gatsby make a bulk of his fortune bootlegging alcohol in for Wolfsheim, a man deeply involved with organized crime. The reader knows this because when Nick asks after Gatsby’s death if he started him Wolfsheim responds, “Start him! I made him.” (171). The second way he uses prohibition is by subtly showing the immorality in the “old money” upper class. Many of the people responsible for prohibition had much in common with Tom and Daisy, born to prominent, wealthy families, who had plenty of political connections, yet Tom and Daisy drink in excess. The third reason is to show Nick’s hypocrisy. Nick claims that at Tom’s party at his apartment in New York City that, “I have been drunk twice in my life, and the second time was that afternoon.” (29). Yet for the rest of the novel he drinks freely and becomes drunk on multiple occasions including Gatsby’s party, and the day Myrtle was hit by the car. Prohibitions also lead to another change in America during the 20’s, the rise of organized crime. Organized crime and the mob were not unheard of in America before the 1920’s, but this decade is where they began to take their modern shape. With prohibition in effect the demand...
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