Causes Of The Great Depression As Depicted In The Great Gatsby

1522 words - 6 pages

The decade of the nineteen-twenties has been marked as a period of social change. People in post-war America wanted to forget about the horrors of Europe and just enjoy themselves. They wanted good paying jobs and some started their own businesses and companies during this period that are still present today (Stewart 5). President Calvin Coolidge once said that “the business of America is business,” which sums up the mindset of the average American: to make money (O’Neal 58). Once people were able to make quick money through a job, business, illegal alcohol trafficking, or buying and selling stocks, many wanted to be pretentious with their newfound wealth. One book that accurately reflects the ostentatious attitude of people in the twenties is The Great Gatsby. In this novel, the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, shows what it was like to have newfound wealth in the American society, a world where flashy cars, big houses and gigantic parties dominated the scene. Americans in this time period had no idea that the next decade would be marked with poverty and homelessness, a decade forever known in history as the Great Depression. This book contains key reasons as to why this all happened. Causes of the Great Depression as described in The Great Gatsby and through historical documentation, include the mentality of the American people after World War I, frivolous spending and lavish partying, people’s dependence on a stock market with frequent irregularity, and the buying of items on credit and loans.
After the Great War, the people of America were seeking a way to forget the unsightly evils of fighting a gruesome battle: they were looking for fun. Enjoyment for adults was hard to come by with the adoption and enforcement of the eighteenth amendment of the United States Constitution in 1920. This led to huge crime waves involving the illegal buying, selling, and transportation of alcoholic substances which gave way to many of the famous gangsters and mobsters that most Americans know of today. These criminals would sell alcohol to speakeasies where many Average-Joes would congregate to enjoy their favorite liquors (Muscoreil 1). In the Great Gatsby, it is hinted that Jay Gatsby gets most of his income from bootlegging with his business partner Meyer Wolfsheim (Telgen 71). Though it is never spelled out that Gatsby receives his money this way, it is able to be inference from the fact that it is said he has shady sources of pay. From this one could derive that the mentality of these people was full of fearlessness and concentration on a good time.
Because people were so fearless and so focused on having a good time, they did not care how much money they spent to enjoy themselves. People would buy anything to make them happy at any time without a care. It is evident that during this time people had no care for the value of money; the only thing that was in most of their minds was to spend their money of things that made them feel like they did not have a...

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