The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations: A Comparison Essay

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Pages: 4

Since the beginning of time, society has been separated into classes; the rulers and the ruled, the rich and the poor, the nobility and the common folk. One can find examples of social caste systems in any time period. Over time, social standards have changed, but one thing has not. Those who possess wealth are thought to also possess happiness. From the outside looking in, the common man always believes that the wealthy live happier lives. But two landmark authors portray a different story. Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and F. Scot Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, both show that in order to be truly happy, one must reject superficial things, such as one’s position in the caste system of society, and pursue one’s true desires. …show more content…
Pip falls for Estella in his childhood and believes that if he earns a title of nobility, Estella will reciprocate his love. After Pip hatches his plan, he begins to hate his “common” life, a thing that he once loved: “Finally, I remember that when I got into my little bed-room, I was truly retched, and had a strong conviction on me that I should never like Joe’s trade. I had liked it once, but once was not now” (Dickens 82). Pip believes that his happiness will come from becoming a gentleman, and in order to become a gentleman, Pip must fit the standards of upper class. He must hate all lower class occupations, such as blacksmithery, and abandon his once beloved home. After achieving his title of a gentleman, Pip meets Estella’s rejection and goes on to lead a life of adventure. When Pip returns home, he finds that he had missed out on much love from his family, specifically from Joe: “He would sit and talk to me in the old confidence, and with the old simplicity, and in the old unassertive protecting way, so that I would half believe that all my life since the days of the old kitchen was one if the mental troubles of the fever that was gone” (Dickens 366). Pip finds true happiness in the end of the novel when he rejects social standards and pursues what makes him happy, love. Only when he rejects social standards does he finally obtain Estella’s love.