In the character of Gatsby, Fitzgerald fails to glamorise the figure of the gangster.
The formation of gangsters and gangs can ultimately be traced back to the 18th Amendment, putting into affect Prohibition. It provided the excuse and the means of making money through the manipulation of the poor, the rich, and everyone in between. Fitzgerald knew people who had come from commonplace backgrounds to affluence and prominence. His own writing success conveyed this new upward mobility. Fitzgerald reflects many real life events and people through the plot and characterisation.
In January 1920, Congress enacted the 18th Amendment. This constitutional Amendment stated that it was illegal to sell, manufacture, or transport alcohol for the means of consumption. Prohibition was intended to increase the general health of Americans while decreasing alcoholism, corruption and crime. However Prohibition enabled Al ‘Scarface’ Capone to expand his Chicago crime syndicate to include ‘bootlegging’ or the illegal trafficking of alcohol. Through Gatsby’s bootlegging and pharmacies, Fitzgerald was merely registering the widespread exploitation of pharmacies exemption from Prohibition law due to the large quantities of alcohol used in their prescriptions. Just like Al Capone, Gatsby’s criminal activities catch up with him, Al Capone gets caught by the authorities and Gatsby gets caught up by his tragic death in the end.
In chapter 6 Tom argues that ‘a lot of these new rich people are just bootleggers’ urging that this is how Gatsby has gained his newly found wealth. Daisy accepts that Gatsby ‘owned some drug stores’, this is the success of a self-made man who is the epitome of the American dream. However it is evident in chapter 7 that these ‘drug stores’ are just a front for bootlegging, this was a common type of crime in the 1920s. Gatsby’s involvement in crime could be used to illustrate how he doesn’t embody the American Dream. He is just the same as the other...