The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations: A Comparison

Topics: Social class, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sociology Pages: 3 (968 words) Published: September 22, 2013
 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. When given the choice between upper class and common, a well-rounded individual will choose a common life. At the start of the novel, the protagonist Nick Carraway finds himself lusting for the glamorous life in New York City, partially out of boredom and partially because he does not have a passion in life. Fitzgerald portrays Carraway’s lostness when we writes, “Everybody I knew was in the bond business, so I supposed it could support one more single man” (Fitzgerald 3). With this sentence, the audience feels that Carraway does not feel passionate about the “bond business,” rather he believes that it is an opportunity that his family approves of and something reasonably pleasing. Carraway wishes to adventure out to the East Coast in order to become his own person and rise in social class. He wishes to be a glamorous New Yorker as opposed to a boring Middle-Western man. Over the summer, Carraway lives in a modest, decent-sized house, sandwiched between two monstrous mansions. At the end of the While in New York, Nick enjoys the many luxuries of the upper class life by befriending Jay Gatsby and many other wealthy and famous characters. Nick meets Jordan Baker, a famous athlete, and takes her on dates over the summer, initially,...

Cited: Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2001. Print.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print.
Foster, Thomas C. How To Read Literature Like a Professor. New York: Quill, 2003. Print.
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