the roaring twenties
America is the land of hopes, dreams and freedom. In the 1920's America was the beacon of
wealth and opportunities. They call it the American Dream. Fast fame and fortune waits on our shores, as well as plenty of moral corruption to obtain it. That is one of the themes in The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby illustrates the typical American Dream. In the novel the characters depict the want and need for wealth and social class.
After World War I and Americans feel they needed a little pleasure in their lives. That is what exactly they did; they spent money on good times and lost their overall morals in life. Not only did Americans latch on to the ideals of fortune and pleasure, but foreigners as well. Immigrants came to the country seeking fortune thinking they could ultimately become all what they wanted to be. That's the American Dream, leaving your past behind and starting anew, becoming what one always dreamed of and obtaining wealth. Gatsby believes in the American Dream to the point he believes he can win love with money as well as anything else he desires. That is where Gatsby is corrupted by the need for wealth.
The losses of morals in The Great Gatsby are tremendous. The "Roaring Twenties" was the age of jazz, flappers, bootlegging and other illegal activities. They believed in having "a little" fun which turned into wild partying and liquor. There were no cares in the world at this age, to those who had money; "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..." (188). Jay Gatz fell into this corruption when he felt a need for wealth to gain the love of Daisy Buchanan. He became an illegal bootlegger, a gambler, as well as a con artist. Gatsby is not only involved in criminal activities, but he also throws lavish parties that show more of the morality of the time period. People in the beginning of the parties are happy and have a generally good time then, towards the end of the night, they get drunk and spouses fight over items of little importance.
Not only did Gatsby fall to the moral corruptions of the Twenties, but so did Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Daisy has no respect for life or objects, along with the fact that she lets Gatsby take the blame for her killing Myrtle Wilson. Her husband is similar to her also, he only see's skin deep and does not judge by personality, and has no regard for human life.
In the end, Gatsby struggles with the fact he cannot obtain what the ultimately desires and that the American Dream is unattainable. Not only is the idealism of the American Dream shown throughout this novel, but also the corruption of morals through the "Roaring Twenties".