Classism And Prohibition In The Great Gatsby

1569 WordsJun 6, 20177 Pages
A World Divided: A Look at Classism and Prohibition in The Great Gatsby Abraham Lincoln famously said: "A house divided against itself cannot stand"; in today’s world full of conflicts, protests, and wars, this is an idiom that holds immense truth. It has been so for as long as there have been people with opinions, and 1920’s America was an era full of opinions. The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a classic tale of the Jazz Age told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, a newcomer to the fast-paced life of East and West Egg. Through his eyes the reader sees the degradation of the mysterious Jay Gatsby, as he head towards a tragic end, in search of lost love from the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. In the end, Nick, frustrated…show more content…
Meanwhile, another amendment to the Constitution was disrupting the post-war world; the 18th, which put Prohibition in effect on a federal level. After years of temperance movements, many people were supportive of this new law, however a large percentage of the population continued selling, buying and drinking alcohol illegally throughout the 1920’s (Brown 705). In The Great Gatsby, the opinions that were more socially acceptable are presented through Nick Carraway’s observations. Throughout the novel, Tom Buchanan believes in his own social superiority; he is of a family with old money, and dislikes Gatsby for the fact that he is of new money, among other reasons. Tom declares that "[the white race] has made all the things that go to make society" (Fitzgerald 13), proving his white supremacy, and believes that "women run around too much these days to suit [him]" (Fitzgerald 103), showing he believes in the traditional role of women as housewives. As well, while none of the main characters directly oppose Prohibition, the consequences of drinking –such as the drunken fight between Tom and Myrtle– are shown and give validity to those who supported Prohibition. However, the more rebellious views toward these issues are also shown in The Great Gatsby. The main characters regularly drink at parties, in private rooms, and in shady restaurants, and do so without a second thought, showing

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