What are the some crimes related to The Great Gatsby in 1920s?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The criminal activity which finds its way into Fitzgerald's work was the same element that was present throughout the 1920's.  The Prohibition of alcohol provided much of the backdrop for urban crime during the time period and is also present in Fitzgerald's novel.  Gatsby's parties have an air of being "hip" and "chic," in large part because the consumption of alcohol in a social setting was seen as something of this nature.  In large part, Gatsby and his social element's interactions were designed to be a response the conservative stress that was emerging in society of the time.  Alcoholic consumption was a part of this rebellion.  Gatsby's dealings with individuals in the criminal underworld also mirror the crimes of the time.  Gambling and the urban criminal element of organized crime, flourishing through prohibition, as well as a general control of the crimes in the American city centers of the time are present in Fitzgerald's work.  Meyer Wolfsheim in the novel, actually Arnold Rothstein, was a key figure in the underhandedness of urban corruption and organized crime, as well as a critical element in the fixing of the World Series of 1919.  Gambling and the general perception of corruption represented the criminal activity of both the time and Gatsby's world.

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