Essay on Al Capone and The Great Gatsby

1666 Words 7 Pages
The notorious and capable Al Capone once commented, “This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.” “This American system,” as referred to by Capone, is not simply one idea alone but a conglomerate of all ideals held to represent the American culture: capitalism, freedom, and opportunity. These ideals go hand in hand with each other; freedom allows for capitalism to flourish and, in turn, allows equal opportunity for every citizen. However, the key to success in the American system is not simply available by going through the motions of life, but rather requires determination, will, …show more content…
Al Capone’s rise to success is similar to a large amount of modern America’s success stories, those who have succeeded through their positive outlook on life and their policy to seize the moment. In addition, the life stories of Al Capone and Gatsby are almost identical with each other because of both their life stories and the era in which they lived in. Al Capone lived in the Prohibition Era of the United States of America, when liquor was banned, as did Gatsby. Al Capone rose from the poorest part of Chicago and through sheer determination made his fortune through illegal alcohol production, distribution, gambling and prostitution. Surprisingly, Gatsby also made his fortune in illegal businesses (presumably alcohol) and climbed the social ladder from a poor soldier to a rich illegal entrepreneur through his pursuit of happiness, which could only be achieved with Daisy at his side. The striking similarity between Al Capone, Gatsby, and today’s modern successes prove that the only qualities needed to succeed in life are those of determination and drive, since success is achieved only through sheer perseverance in life. Gatsby uses only his perseverance to seize the opportunity to better himself in society and has succeeded in doing so, although it was through illegal means. However, to his nemesis Tom, Gatsby’s wealth and attitude mean nothing and he views Gatsby as nothing more than one “…of [those] newly rich people [who] are just big bootleggers” (Fitzgerald 107).

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