Essay about Carelesssness of the 1920's

Submitted By mturrent
Words: 944
Pages: 4

Mimi Turrentine
American Literature
Mr. Ealy
6 May 2011
The Carelessness of the 1920’s F. Scott Fitzgerald “coined the term ‘Jazz Age’ to describe the 1920’s decade of exuberance, creativity, and sometimes troubling change” (Howes 81). He was an iconic author of the 1920’s and thereby captured the mood of the times, one of extreme carelessness. In Fitzgerald’s works, a reoccurring idea is that of youthful recklessness, especially The Great Gatsby. During these times, known as the “roaring twenties”, American society flaunted traditional values in regards to women’s roles in their relationships and the law of prohibition. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby fully represents extreme carelessness during the modern period. The 1920s was a time period of major social change in the United States. These social changes were reflected in the laws and regulations, including prohibition. Although alcohol consumption did decline for a short period of time during prohibition, underground schemes to sell alcohol were organized and continued to prosper. Fitzgerald chooses to incorporate this historical chaos when Tom says, “I found out what your ‘drug stores’ were” he turned to us and spoke rapidly. “He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drugstores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter (Fitzgerald 133). The majority of drug store owners at the time were actually selling alcohol illegally as this became a lucrative business. Ironically, these store owners believed that they would not get caught and the stores were a good cover for them. Gatsby and Wolfshiem were representative of these criminals and subsequently felt the need to hide their true identities. This once again showed the lack of concern for the law during the 1920’s and irrational mindset of society. Himsl stated that “Henry Ford offended the drys and started everyone else by serving bottled beer at a public luncheon in honor of his new 1934-V-8 model (141). As a result, more and more people felt the need to drink again. For instance, as a rule, when something is not permitted or allowed, it is the one thing that is the most desirable and craved. With this new revolution stemmed violent crimes causing death and destruction. One of the major groups located in Detroit, Michigan were called the “Purple Gang.” This mob of bootleggers started out as petty thieves, such as transporting alcohol, but later moved onto more complex crimes like kidnapping. Not only were men and business owners involved in the drinking, but After World War 1 women were exposed to new traditions and freedoms. Excessive consumption in all aspects of life was in style. The women drank and smoked in restaurants, country clubs, where they socialized with their friends, and also at private homes. When Daisy and friends, also known as flappers, met at the hotel in The Great Gatsby to mingle, Daisy said “Open the Whiskey, Tom” she ordered “and I’ll make you a mint julep. Then you won’t feel so stupid to yourself… look at the mint” (Fitgerald 129)! Daisy showed how casual it was for women to drink publicly and reinforced how they relied on liquor to solve their problems or comfort their inadequacies. The women did not care how men thought of them because it was a symbol of freedom, therefore their roles as women in their homes and rearing of children changed as well (insert some info about that here). The media was an extremely strong influence to society and particularly women, as well. One well-known celebrity, Clara Bow, was the greatest female sex symbol and biggest Hollywood star. “Rumors of her gambling, carousing, and wild all-night parties abounded in Hollywood, and studio publicists…