The not so Great Gatsby
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Juniors in Mr. Rude’s English III College Prep class recently finished their unit on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby.
The thing most people take away from reading the novel is not to give up on your dream. Gatsby, the main character, waits all that time for Daisy, his former girlfriend, to show up to one of his parties. This does not happen until Gatsby has Nick Carraway (the narrator) invite Daisy to tea. However, I believe that Fitzgerald had a deeper meaning to his book rather than just a complicated love story.
I believe that his novel is a warning to the readers of the book. Fitzgerald died on December 21, 1940, and was an alcoholic at the time of his death. The Great Gatsby takes place during the 1920s in the state of New York. Many people tried striking it rich by illegally making and distributing alcohol during the 1920s, as the prohibition of alcohol was in effect due to the 18 amendment.
Gatsby hosts gigantic parties every weekend. Many of the party-goers show up without being invited, however, Nick was one of the few that actually received an invitation from Mr. Gatsby. The guests all have their own belief on where Gatsby got his money. Gatsby actually gets all of his money from running illegal speakeasies. Therefore, all the party-goers are at a party funded by the illegally acquired money.
In the book, Gatsby hosts extravagant parties featuring plenty of alcohol, which at the time of the novel, is banned due to the 18 amendment. This is the second instance of the characters partaking in an illegal activity.
After the parties, most of the party-goers would drive home. This is a big issue today. Drinking and driving kills on average 28 people in the United States per day which amounts to 44 billion dollars worth of damage per year, according to cdc.gov.
Lastly, I believe that F. Scott Fitzgerald was trying to teach the American people about their morals. Daisy was originally with Gatsby, but Gatsby leaves to go fight in the war, and Daisy leaves him for Tom, who is richer than Gatsby. When Daisy sees Gatsby has all of this money he can throw around, she suddenly never loved Tom and always loved Gatsby.
F. Scott Fitzgerald knew the dangers of an alcohol addiction first-hand. I believe that this was his way of warning the American public about the effects alcohol can have, and he is pointing out the lack of morals in this time period.