You Only Live Once, So Live It Well

1999 words - 8 pages

The Roaring Twenties have come to describe America during the time of the Prohibition. In the early 1920’s, when the book is set, World War I had just come to an end. Many people flocked toward the bigger cities from their original small towns. They viewed the big cities as an opportunity to search for excitement and a more modern way of living. Alcohol flowed like rivers in many new American homes and drunkards occupied many prisons and poorhouses. A group of activists made a valiant effort to eliminate alcohol in and attempt to help the country return to the simpler lifestyle. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays the corruption of the 1920s through his character Jay Gatsby and his illustration of the evils of prohibition.
In the very beginning of the novel the readers are introduced to West Egg and East Egg. West Egg resides people of newfound wealth where as East Egg homes those of old money. Jay Gatsby, the main character, was a man of new wealth. Coming from a not financially stable family, it was Gatsby’s goal to become wealthy for one girl, Daisy Buchanan. To Gatsby’s dismay, Daisy came from old wealth, which caused great conflict throughout the whole story. Gatsby was known as a self-made man; however, he wasn’t the kind of self-made man most strive to be. Making all of his money through his illegal bootlegging of alcohol during the prohibition, Gatsby had more than enough cash.
Gatsby made his money from illegally bootlegging alcohol during the Prohibition. He didn’t finish school anywhere, which would have made it hard for him to make the kind of living he had any other way, yet, the price of selling alcohol under the counter was not worth it for him. He became a gangster to earn and maintain his growing wealth, which was not a good idea. He lost sight of who he was because of his obsession with getting a girl. Gatsby became a very sketchy man, telling all sorts of lies to make him sound higher up in the social status department.
Jay was always trying to get rid of his past life, being a poor son of two poor parents. However, he constantly found himself caught up in a past relationship. He changed everything about himself, his name, house, and town, all to get away from his past; yet he is obsessed with certain parts. The part of his past he was unable to let go of was Daisy. He was so set on having her, he couldn’t think of anything else besides impressing her. Daisy was his number one motivation to become wealthy, and she would end up being the number one reason for his drastic down fall (Lathbury 1).
Although Jay was a self-made man, some others definitely had some involvement shaping him into the man he became. A man named Dan Cody was introduced to Gatsby when he was a very young boy. He taught Jay many lessons about wealth and how to become wealthy. Dan was supposed to give Jay all his money after he died, however, it did not turn out that way. In The Great Gatsby, Nick describes, “And it was from Cody that the...

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