Desire In The Great Gatsby

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Pages: 6

Gatsby Essay

Does the treatment of individual desire in The Great Gatsby and Barrett Browning’s poetry reveal similarities or reinforce the texts’ distinctive qualities?

The pursuit of happiness a universal concern that effects people in different ways and the ideologies of ideal love, social ethics and morals are thought to be of relevance to these people that affect their values and the values of society. This is evident in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetry, “Sonnets from the Portuguese” written in 1850 and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, “The Great Gatsby” written in 1925 where both personas create worlds with the aid of language forms, structural features and characterisation, in order to portray the differing contexts which help aid in
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Browning was not concerned with material possessions unlike Fitzgerald’s, “The Great Gatsby” which is regarded as, “A classic, perhaps the supreme American novel” by literary critic John Carey and from the context of the novel, it can be seen that the text refers to the decline of the American dream, corrupted love and the decayed social and moral values of the materialistic post World War 1 America.

Browning’s poetry was written in the patriarchal 19th century Victorian era at a time in when her father isolated her from society; however, she fell in love with Robert Browning and “Sonnets from the Portuguese” was dedicated to him. In Sonnet I, the use of a volta and oxymoron in, “The sweet, sad years, the melancholy year,…” is used in order to emphasise the dramatic change and the
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The ambiguity seen through the text by using words such as, “or” and “perhaps”, such as in chapter 6, “Or perhaps I had merely grown used to it… through Daisy’s eyes” is used to emphasise how Fitzgerald has mixed feelings regarding the superficial love in the novel. Contextually, women in the jazz age were known as “Flappers” and did not have much influence in society. In chapter 7, Daisy states, “I did love him once - but I loved you to”. This demonstrates how she is a dependent woman and the hyphen indicates her stress and her inability to make decisions. This characterisation contrasts that of Jordan Baker who is strong and independent. The use of a foreboding tone and assonance in, “Turned abruptly away and ran up the porch stairs”, reinforces this notion. Also, in the novel, Daisy is seen as a possession owned by Tom and Gatsby is attempting to obtain her in order to achieve his pursuit of happiness. Nick says at the end of the novel, “Gatsby believed in the green light… And one fine morning -”, emphasising that Gatsby