How Does Fitzgerald Use Gambling In The Great Gatsby

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Gambling, for all its importance to the story, is very rarely mentioned within The Great Gatsby. It is regarded as a shady subject for equally shady men, a crime committed on a level just secret enough to avoid reference within polite society. The delicacy with which gambling is treated throughout the novel closely mirrors the handling of the character of one Jay Gatsby; no one knows much about either subject, and both are presumably dangerous. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses gambling implicitly throughout The Great Gatsby as a subtle means of developing Gatsby’s identity and the corruption of the times, communicating to the reader that not everything is as it seems; all that glitters in Nick Carraway’s shining New York is not gold. It is implied that Jay Gatsby gambles. Gambling is very clearly against the law, and gamblers are often sent to prison. Yet the suggestion that Gatsby may have gambled his …show more content…

Buchanan reveals how Gatsby and Wolfsheim “bought up a lot of side-street drugstores” and “sold grain alcohol over the counter.” (133) Bootlegging was a common source of cash for the newly rich in New York, but that’s hardly the worst of it in Buchanan’s eyes; had Wolfsheim not “scared [Walter Chase] into shutting his mouth,” Chase could “have [Gatsby] up on the betting laws.” (134) Here we have explicit evidence that Gatsby is dealing with illegal business; he has sold alcohol in violation of Prohibition and gambled despite laws against it. Gambling is happening, it’s here, and it is part of the immense tension between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby; this is an action so illegal that Tom himself, who drinks against the law, has never partaken in it, and that damns Gatsby further in his eyes. In the end this secret corruption loses Gatsby everything - his fame, Daisy’s love, Nick’s trust - and it brought the 1920s to their ruin as

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