Why was Nick's job in The Great Gatsby so different from jobs today?What was different between 1920 and 2009?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Quite simply, Nick is in the "bond business," which is just not something that people focus on these days.  We learn of Nick's business (and consequential move to West Egg) very early on in the novel.  "I decided to go East and learn the bond business.  Everybody I knew was in the bond business, so I supposed it could support one more single man" (3).  Savings bonds were created to finance World War I and were popular for many years after that; however, in 2002 the Treasury Department started to lower interest and cease marketing.  Very often, even in mid-century America, we would hear a lot about the sale of “war bonds” and the like.  It was often a good way to gain a higher interest yield on your money while supporting American troops at the same time.  As with anything else, lower interest and less marketing were a death wish for bonds.  Luckily, Nick seems to have made a fine living in the bond business in its prime.

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The Great Gatsby

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