Great Gatsby Essay

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The Jazz Age, also known as the Roaring Twenties, was arguably the most prominent and enjoyable time in American history. The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, tells the journey of Nick Carraway, the narrator. Nick lives in West Egg, a part of Long Island, New York and is intrigued by his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. The two eventually become friends, and Nick learns the untold life of Jay Gatsby. The Great Gatsby, a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, displays a very accurate portrayal of the prominent time in America during the 1920s known as the Jazz Age. This is depicted through alcohol consumption during the time of Prohibition, music, New York life during the 1920s, and the presence of modernism. Prohibition and alcohol consumption played a key role in the Jazz Age, as well as in The Great Gatsby. During a heated argument, Tom Buchanan reveals what Gatsby’s job was. Tom says, “I found out what you ‘drug stores’ were. He and this Wolfsheim bought a lot of side street drug stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter” (Fitzgerald 133). Hensley describes that during the Jazz Age, “many Americans also went to bars known as speakeasies, where alcohol was served. Speakeasies were generally run by organized crime, which was the era’s most violent example of breaking the rules” (15). The reader learns some information in this comparison. First, Jay Gatsby is indeed a bootlegger, one who served alcohol at a speakeasy. Was Gatsby involved in other illegal activities, due to the fact that speakeasies were run by organized crime? Second, the reader gets a sense of context. Prohibition existed in the novel. One can finally understand how Gatsby attains fame and wealth ---- through illegal activity. The Jazz Age was a time “when many Americans threw themselves into the pursuit of fun, excitement, money, and social status” (Applebee 840).

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