The 1920s were some of America’s most thriving years. Sports such as boxing and baseball were a huge importance, women were striked with opportunities of a lifetime, the stock market was experiencing multiple tribulations, and the American Dream was the end goal of it all. Bootlegging was another major topic of interest in this time. Many citizens began selling alcohol illegally to make money and profit. This all helped contribute to the American Dream, the sole thing the vast majority of society was trying to achieve. Throughout his novel, The Great Gatsby, Frances Scott Fitzgerald shadows many situations highly influenced by the American Dream.
At the start of the 1920s, immigration was at its highest numbers ever in America’s history (Hirshman). These immigrants came in large numbers such as millions. Living conditions weren’t all the great in other countries, but they were just starting to boom in America. Citizens of other countries saw this and yearned for that kind of success. Many people in this time period wanted to live stress-free lives, so they figured the only way to do that was to travel to America. Many of these foreigners came to America with the hopes of earning more money than they were able to in their own countries. Most of them were unable to attain this goal. This led to many immigrants returning to their original homes. However, the ones who chose to stay hoped they were lucky enough to live out the American Dream.
Immigration was not the only reason the American Dream became so popular. People of America had already seen such a huge difference in their country once women were given the right to vote. Once women were able to recognize that politics had an impact on their daily lives just as much as it did on men’s. They felt they had the right to have a part in politic (Benner). At first they weren’t quick to jump social reform. Even though they had been given this right to vote, many people (mostly men) were not accepting of women having a bigger role in society. They still had little power. Eventually attitudes toward this new adjustment were slowly leaning towards women’s favor. Benner says, Women focused on things such as child labor laws, prison reform, and their own personal jobs. It wasn’t a normal thing if a woman was unmarried much less that women had their own jobs as well. The women had to work hard for what they believed was right and really put preeminence on the topic at hand. The Nineteenth Amendment changed society’s view and understanding of women’s place in humanity. This led to a huge impact and advantage for the people of America’s happiness.
The American dream was mainly focused on attaining material objects. Paul A. Cantor quotes in his article, One got a good education in order to land a good job…which would provide the financial means of buying all the material components that seemed essential to the American. Not only was it desirable to have the nicest things, but having the ideal lifestyle with the ideal family was just as important. The suggestion of the American Dream gave individuals something to strive toward and a reason to endeavor to become prosperous, independent person in society. “The American Dream” has dependably been about the possibility of achievement (Diamond). She then goes on to say, …it was a fantasy of correspondence, equity and popular government for the country. Society put all of their focus to accomplishing this vision that they felt was the key principle to America’s turning point.
Although it may seem so simple, the American Dream is not generally so clear-cut an idea (Islam). It often included a perfect family and white picket wall (Islam). However, Gatsby did not live up to that standard. He was a single man who earned everything he owned all for himself (and Daisy of course); he wasn’t working to support anyone else other than himself, he had no family to take care of. Fitzgerald wasn’t exactly focused on shining light on how Gatsby lived out the American Dream, but more so how it looked to other people in West and East Egg. They saw him as some type of God because he was so extravagant. Gatsby can often be described as a baffling man who lives in a vast residence and tosses luxurious parties that are attended by a considerable number of people each Saturday night (Fitzgerald).
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