"Prosperity" Of The 20's Essay

961 words - 4 pages

The 1920’s are often seen as a prosperous time for everyone, but that isn’t true. Only the top 1% wealthiest Americans got an 80% increase in disposable income, while everyone else only got a 9% increase in disposable income. In fact, 80% of all Americans had absolutely no savings at all. It was a prosperous time, but only if you were very, very rich. The theme for the novel The Great Gatsby is need for more excess money and pleasure rules those who have excess money and pleasure. Characters in the book care only for themselves or for their goals, and disregard everything else. The wealthy have even split into two factions, the old aristocracy of East Egg and the new self-made rich of West Egg. The rich dump their waste without any heed of those who are affected. They pay no attention to it even though they pass by the wasteland they created every day on their way to work. They take advantage of people and give nothing in return, not even taking notice of them after they have outlived their usefulness.
In The Great Gatsby there exist two factions of the wealthy: The old aristocrats and the newly rich. The old aristocrats come from “well-bred” families that have been around for generations. They often see others as being below them, and are therefore reluctant to engage in any kind of interaction with them. Daisy and Tom Buchanan are the main characters from this group. This quote from page 179 summarizes the Buchanans: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness”. The Buchanans cared only for themselves. If anything went wrong, they could always find false solace in their wealth. The other faction of the rich is the “new rich”. The new rich do not come from wealthy or well-known families. The new rich have taken advantage of the new money making opportunities of post World War I America. The majority of these self-made millionaires have never had this kind of money before. They spend vast quantities of it on luxuries and massive parties. One such man is Jay Gatsby, the namesake of the novel. Jay Gatsby is somewhat mysterious to the people who know of him. Most only know him from the glimpses they get at his massive parties and the rumors, usually unfriendly, that they hear about Gatsby. It is revealed that Gatsby has made his money off of illegal deals and organized crime. Contrary to the title of the novel, he isn’t at all great. “It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end.” (Page 154).
In The Great Gatsby between New York and West Egg is...

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