Fitzgerald was ahead of his time in articulating the defining elements of the 1920s. He recognized that the Jazz Age was rooted in "outer-directed" focus. This condition was one in which individuals lived for external reality and for the expectations of other people. Fitzgerald demonstrates a time period in which there is a noticeable lack of "inner-directed" guidance. For the most part, the Jazz Age is depicted as a monument built upon a firmament of sand.
The outer-directed nature of the time period ultimately reveals its emptiness. Underneath the glamour and glitz is a crippling hollowness, a vacant nothingness that underscores their existence.
Fitzgerald operates as both storyteller and historian in how he is able to detail this aspect of the 1920s. To a great extent, Fitzgerald shows how the excessive "outer-directed" condition of being helps to perpetuate unsound economic habits that would inevitably lead to the 1929 Stock Market Crash.