Without them, it is inconceivable how the theme of the novel be fully appreciated.
Knowing that any war will not only be costly but will need to sacrifice American lives in the name of the principles it is fighting for, America tried its best to stay away from the war between the Allies and the Central Powers. But the sinking of Lusitania and several others by German U-boats that snuffed the lives of several innocent Americans, compounded by Germany's deliberate violations of International Law forced America to join the fray. So many Americans lost their lives and those who survived, tried later to expunge the bloody memories of the war and attempted to compensate by enjoying their lives to the hilt when prosperity ensued during the Roaring Twenties. Thus, both Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby, who were war returnees, tried to bask in the new opulence, affluence and the new kind of freewheeling lifestyle
Congress. This legislation "prohibited the manufacture, transport, or sale of intoxicating liquors" (Risjord 703). The resulting Prohibition taught America that this Amendment was a fatal mistake as it "made law evasion fashionable and it financed criminal syndicates" (Risjord 703).
It was doomed from the start because beer and wine drinking had been ensconced in American life as a deeply rooted tradition. Banning it would force it to go underground. Thus the bootleggers and the speakeasies made their mark in this era. Bootleggers like Wolfsheim and Gatsby took advantage of the great demand , amassing tremendous wealth in the process and forming the new class called the nouveau riche. Most of them, like Gatsby settled in the West Egg area of Long Island, NY. Adjacent to it is the old aristocracy area of East Egg, where Tom and Daisy Buchanan built their palatial mansion. Between West Egg and Manhattan is the valley of the ashes or the dumping ground of the refuse of the wealthy and the spoiled. This is where George and Myrtle Wilson fixed their auto garage shop. Both West and East Egg denizens compete in an ostentatious display of wealth, licitly or illicitly acquired.
In the 1920's American business offered stocks and securities to the public, which was
readily responded to. Thus the great economic boom came which ushered a new culture of
garish display of merriment and glitter in the form of lavish and extravagant parties, the "Jazz
Era" (Flanagan 2), ballroom dancing e.g. Charleston, "bob hairdos, stylish dresses with boa feathers (Milford 178), natty men's suits, automobiles, hydroplanes, and new gadgets that herald "the appearance of electricity and the utilization of