In the Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald, it is evident how the past cannot be escaped and how it influences ideas about the present and future. However in the Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning at first it seems so, but once we get to the final sonnet it is evident that has overcome her past and welcomes love into her life. The notion of the statement above regarding the pas, can be explained through the central themes of love/relationship, materialism, The American Dream (in terms of the Great Gatsby) and lastly hope. As texts are considered products of their time, the context; The Jazz age in terms of the Great Gatsby and The Victorian Age in relation to the Sonnets from the Portuguese, and symbolism help convey the true meaning of the statement put forward. In addition to the provided extracts, this essay will also make reference to other aspects of the novel and other various sonnets from the Portuguese.
The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald was written in 1925, setting the tone of the novel in an era known as the Roaring 20’s or to some better known as the Jazz age. It was an era of consumer power, following the horrors of WW1. America was divided based solely on wealth class and the materialistic possession that one owns. The selfish moralities of consumerism was the country’s new moral code and the pursuit of wealth and pleasure its new religion. It was also a time of great change, women were now able to vote and freely express themselves, alcohol was banned which lead to much organised crime.
It is the idea of re-capturing the past that primarily shapes who Gatsby is and what drives and influences what he does every day. This is riddled throughout the novel and the most significant feature of this is the fact that Gatsby has devoted his whole life to strive and become on the same social level as Daisy, because as Daisy admits “girls like me cant marry guys like you” – this reflects the different attitudes towards social classes and the context of the time which is the power of materialistic wealth. Through wanting to re-live the past and being with Daisy, there is a shift of Gatsby’s moral compass, this is , that Gatsby puts himself on the other side of the law, labelling him a bootlegger - selling prohibited alcohol and ingredients in his ‘drug store’. Also coming to terms with himself, that he would see a family breakdown, just so he can be with Daisy.
Gatsby describes to Nick that the only reason why he lives where he is, is because it is right across the bay from Daisy. The symbol which is used best to represent the dream of Gatsby being with Daisy is the green light which is situated on her bay dock. Nick sates that the first time he laid eyes on Gatsby was when “Gatsby was mysteriously throwing his arms forward across the dock” Gatsby often describes that he can “almost see the light through the mist” this again reinforces the “almost” of re-capturing the past.
By breaking the law and trying to re live the past, Tom Buchanun, Daisy’s husband confronts him about his corrupt past and his love for Daisy this makes Gatsby angry because he is not happy with his past. In this event theme love/relationship and the description of weather plays a major role in emphasising the idea which is being portrayed. The weather in this scene is described as the warmest ever experienced, this reflects the tension between Tom, Daisy and Gatsby, as Nick sates that “he can feel the tension in the room just as the weather”. This event is a prime example of how yes, the past does influence the future, because even though Daisy loves Gatsby, due to the past experiences with Tom, she loves Tom more, this frustrates Gatsby because he has the mentality that he can re-live the past.
In reference to the extract provided, the tone of the scene can be described as relief and realisation, this can be explained as Nick describes “As I went over to say goodbye I saw that