The Great Gatsby Automobile Impact On Society

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The impact of the automobile in the 1920 's drove America into a frenzy of fresh opportunities. This new era can be credited in part to Henry Ford who mass produced the Model T, and made it an affordable, practical vehicle for any American with a need and want for mobility. The automobile revolutionized almost every part of life including the economy, and where Americans traveled and lived. However, these successes came at a cost. Pollution began to take its toll in major cities, crime rates increased, and as mobility expanded, safety took a plunge. Both the advantages and disadvantages the automobile instilled on society can be outlined by the characters and events in The Great Gatsby. Because the automobile was available to virtually any …show more content…
Ford 's Model T, however, blurred this societal line. This is proved when McCollum states that the automobile must have been "low enough in price to insure sales for the enormously increased output. From 1919 to 1929, the number of cars on the road more than tripled, from 6.8 million to 23.1 million. The car went from being a rich person 's toy to everyone 's necessity" (18-20). Gatsby resembled the first run automobile owner as he was wealthy and possessed a luxury vehicle. Ford 's invention adhered to even the lower and middle classes such as those who may have resided in the Valley of Ashes as described in The Great Gatsby. The development of an efficient assembly line created a vast output of automobiles which spiked a large consumer margin. As written by McCollum, "The 1920s industrial boom might have been a bust if not for the Ford assembly line. The revolutionary process produced about fifty cars an hour and revolutionized the way manufactured products were made" (18-19). With the amount of car owners increasing at a rapid pace, the economy spiked in a variety of ways. Affordable cars were being bought and placed on driveways all over the country which brought revenue to many car companies. …show more content…
The seriousness of the automobile is described in the article which states, “The Model T’s black, boxy shape was by no means elegant. The vehicle also had a reputation for being cantankerous. With a neck-snapping bound and a mournful howl from the transmission, the Model T catapulted ahead...you could do 40 mph if all was well with the engine” (“Industry” 19-20). The Model T, and similar vehicles were designed solely for mobility rather than luxury. It came with great procedure to keep the car running on the road, but unfortunately knowledge on how to drive did not always include knowledge on how to drive safely. Americans of this period were usually solely focused on their vehicle and where they wanted to go, because it was a large feat in itself to properly change gears. This truth led to consequences that impacted both the driver and pedestrians on the road due to an increased risk of harm. Stanford illustrates, “By the end of the 1920s, more than 200,000 Americans had been killed by automobiles. Most of these fatalities were pedestrians in cities, and the majority of these were children. A variety of innovative street signals and markings were developed by other cities hoping to tame the automobile. Yet these innovations did little to protect pedestrians” (11-12). Frequent accidents and

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