In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, all the characters are in one way or another, attempting to achieve a state of happiness in their lives. There are only two main social groups, the rich upper class and the poor lower class, which struggles to attain a higher position. Though the major players seek only to change their lives for the better, the idealism and spiritualism of the American Dream is inevitably crushed beneath the harsh reality of life, because of their society which is full of racism and is robbed of its social and moral values, leaving their lives without meaning or purpose.
The American economy at this time is at an all time high, and "the novel is appropriately set in [this] get-rich-quick decade that brought about the organization of crime as a concomitant of Prohibition" (Gatsby X). With the economy at an all time high people started to become greedy and wanted to invest and try anything they could to attain wealth no matter what the costs. This results in a demoralized society thwarted by greed and decayed social values.
The rich and the poor are the only social classes; there is no middle class in existence. The rich are greedy and think they are the best, the rich women seemed to float in thin air, as though they " were buoyed up upon an anchored balloon" (Gatsby 12). The poor stay poor because the rich are greedy and make it hard for the poor to attain any wealth. The poor are in way on the outside looking in, as the rich have a great time and enjoy life.
Racism is another big issue in society, once again the rich are at it again, in fear that " other races will have control of things" (Gatsby 17). Daisy suggests that we " beat them down" (Gatsby 18). The rich did not want anyone else to have control of anything; the rich had to have complete control, while the poor and the minorities have no chance of becoming a part of the rich world. The American Dream is slowly decaying and society is being destructed by an ignorant class of people.