Why Is Prohibition Important In The Great Gatsby

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The 1920s was a time in history defined largely by Prohibition and organized crime. In The Great Gatsby, life back then is perfectly illustrated from the wild parties to the behind the scene drug deals. Throughout the novel Fitzgerald is constantly showing you that behind the elegant parties and extreme wealth, America is not what it claims to be. “I call myself a businessman. I make my money by supplying a popular demand. If I break the law, my customers are as guilty as I am”(May 91). Prohibition was put into place in 1919, and this instantly did not sit well with many Americans. The Eighteenth Amendment made it illegal to “manufacture, sell, or transport liquor on a national level”(Moss 147). This however did not make it illegal to drink alcohol, just to produce or sell it to the consumer. People all over the country just wanted to drink and have fun but in a heartbeat, it was next to impossible to get any type of alcohol. Shortly after the Volstead Act was passed which defined intoxicating liquor as “ a drink that was more than .5 percent alcohol”(Moss 147). With it now illegal to get liquor there was …show more content…
It is first revealed to us at his first attempt to help Nick out by giving him an opportunity to make a little extra cash on the side. “I carry on a little business on the side, a sort of sideline, you understand”(Fitzgerald 82). Shortly after his initial proposal we are given a little bit more information about his mystery activities. “Well, this would interest you. It wouldn’t take up much of your time and you might pick up a nice bit of money. It happens to be a rather confidential sort of thing”(Fitzgerald 83). This shows us a side of Gatsby that we have not seen up until this point. Before this it seems as if he is a really respectable guy, but it is revealed that he has a shady life that not many people know

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