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Many historians describe the 1920s as American Golden Years— “the roaring twenties”— the economy was increasing rapidly and more and more people were going to the cities. With the rapid growth of wealth, the rich came out like mushrooms after rain, they represented and influenced the values of society. However, on the back page of the booming, the rich’s lifestyle— their pursuit; their behaviors; their attitudes toward others— also reflected the characteristics of “rich in material, deficiency in spirit.”In that period, it went to the extreme that the rich desired money and power.
To gain more wealth, they could do anything, even the wicked thing. Al Capone, a mobster and crime boss in Chicago during the 1920s, was notorious for all that he had done— killing people and smuggling alcohol to earn money. He made St.Valentine’s Day massacre, seven people were killed in public, which remained him the most powerful gangster in the world. When he was accused, the only thing he did was to hand out recognizance without any other punishment.
Besides Al Capone, another person who was also notorious was Texas Guinan, the “Queen of the Underworld” during the 1920s. Although she made herself shiny and wise in public by using media and newspapers, she was still being arrested several times for selling alcohol and entertaining, which were supported by mobsters. The same as Al Capone, Guinan also handed out recognizance and came back to her nightclub again. That the rich broke the law to earn dark money harmed the society in a large number of fields.
The prevailed right of the casualties cannot be held under the abuse of power.
At that time, The rich’s behaviors also showed how exaggerated they are. Their action of buying showy but unsubstantial things caused luxuries to increase in America. In different places, luxuries had a different significance. Upstarts used luxury to show others how wealthy they were and hoped to become noblemen; The rich used luxury to dress them up and showed their great positions. All the things they bought were a kind of a waste of money. Competing money made the rich greedy and ugly. While some rich liked showing stuff, others were indulging in social and held parties for entertainment. In the Great Gatsby, Gatsby held the parties all the time without knowing who was coming to his party. He spent a huge amount of money for his parties---- tons of food, the cost of the scene, and the people he invited. All he was doing was showing people his plentiful money to make people crazy about his parties. The American Dream of women, money, alcohol, party, and extravagant lifestyles is what the twenties decade portrayed. In the same way, the rich’s attitude toward others reflected the selfish and numb of most people during the 1920s. They lacked obligation and were desensitized toward their underclass counterparts. Unless the thing is connecting to their profit, they wouldn’t even offer one dollar. In the Great Gatsby, after Daisy killed the woman, the first thing she thought was not about the woman’s life but about how could she escape. After Gatsby dead, she didn’t even attend his funeral but went to Paris with her husband. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated into their money…”(the Great Gatsby p187)
Daisy was a kind of typical rich in the 1920s. Her living environment made her grow like that---- selfish and cruel to useless people. With the thriving of upstarts, the rich are not only unconcerned with the poor but also discriminated against upstarts. The noble rich discriminate against upstarts. Gatsby was a great example of this. Even if the book did not mention how Gatsby became rich from a poor soldier, people knew that he was an upstart---- earning money in dark ways. Gatsby wished to have a position, which was the main reason he held parties all day. However, the truth was the classes never admitted him. They laughed at him and judged him as a clown. The rich’s self-righteousness and apathy did not play a positive role in social value. Their rejection of the new rich made fewer and fewer people enter the classes. Above all, the rich’s lifestyle reflected the essential desires and thoughts of the society in the 1920s---- the American Dream. Under the thriving of the economy, there were a large number of latent dangers. People’s only desires were money and position. They indulged in exaggerated lives and were whatweredesensitized toward others. The rich deserved the name, Robber Baron. Consequently, the lack of spirit was the problem that everyone faced in the 1920s. Nowadays, creating more value and happiness for society and others is what we advocate.
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