The Great Gatsby, The Black Sox, High Finance, and American Law

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is the great novel of America in the 1920s. It is about someone pursuing a girl, and, more than that, it is about someone pursuing a dream. Jay Gatsby is someone who believes in the American dream of success. His life plays out the most famous piece of repartee between Fitzgerald and Hemingway – that the rich are very different from you and me, because they have more money. Gatsby is a man who thought that if he had the money, he would be rich, and could therefore be different.

After reading Gatsby, one remembers the parties which its hero threw: dusk-to-dawn galas peopled by financiers, Broadway stars, and the polo-playing aristocracy. But behind the glitter there are occasional glimpses of darkness. Gatsby is a man with no background. Some say he is the Kaiser’s nephew, some have heard that he once killed a man. He has unsavory connections – perhaps even criminal connections. His past is a mystery, and there is something in his present which he wants to conceal.