Jay Gatsby & Eponine from Les Miserables: Compare & Contrast Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer


Every human being is born with unique character traits. Even identical twins cannot have similar characters. Despite the uniqueness, some people may exhibit related characteristics to some extent. This paper compares the characters of Gatsby and Eponine. Gatsby is the main character in the book “The Great Gatsby,” while Eponine is one of the characters in the book “Les Miserables.”

Gatsby and Eponine

Gatsby is a noted habitual liar. Even his closest associate, Nick, and his girlfriend, Daisy, were equally victims of his lies. One of his apparent lies was that “he studied at Oxford University” (Fitzgerald, 156). The truth is that Gatsby worked as “an army man, sailor and bond seller” after he dropped out of St. Olfa’s college, where he had learned for only two weeks (Fitzgerald, 153).

Eponine’s character was filled with malice and perception. At the age of eighteen, she would fight much like men older than herself. She chose not to disclose anything about her past. Gatsby, at the same time, kept lying to his friends about his past (Roche, 161).

Gatsby struggled from a poor background and eventually became a wealthy man. The much wealth he amassed through illegal means made him proud and flashy. Jay liked showing off with his money. The author narrates how he kept on organizing brilliant parties for strangers. He lived in the class of the rich; his mansion was built with expensive construction materials with a luxurious “tower on one side” (Fitzgerald, 152).

The nicely finished compound had a swimming pool lined with marble and enclosed in a large parcel of land on which he tended a lawn and flower gardens. Eponine was also proud, just like Gatsby. She was very proud that she knew how to write and read. “I am going to write something to show you,” this was her statement to express her feelings about her literacy (Hugo, 112). Her literacy placed her in a different social status with the rest of the women.

Gatsby was quite a gentleman. He extended his generosity to everyone he came across. When Daisy, his girlfriend, was accused of killing Myrtle, Gatsby stood by her side and defended her throughout the case (Fitzgerald, 151). He was kind to everyone and was ready to use his money to please people.

In one of the parties he organized, he gave a new gown to one of the guests whose dress was accidentally torn while at the party (Bohlin, 162). Eponine was emotional and fearful. All of her songs are emotional (Roche, 162). She cried so often as a way of expressing her emotions.

Because of his cheating nature, Gatsby was a susceptible character. He embraced lies as a strategy to protect himself and perpetuate his “great name” (Bohlin, 220). This character made him loose all his close friends. He also used the lies to convince her girlfriends in romance. Eponine acts more like a boy than a lady. She is associated more with barricade boys and fought just like men. She bears the brand of “on my own” attitude, which is more of a man’s character than a woman’s one (Hugo, 109).


This essay made a comparison of the characters of Gatsby and Eponine as detailed in the books “The Great Gatsby” and “Les Miserables.” The two personalities were effectively used by the writers to bring out the themes of romance, social class, and struggles of life.

Works Cited

Bohlin, Karen. Teaching Character Education through Literature: Awakening the Moral imaginations in Secondary Classrooms. New York: Routledge Falmer. 2005. Print

Fitzgerald, Scott and Prigozy, Ruth. The Great Gatsby. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. 1998. Print.

Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables. Fairfield: 1st world Library. 2007. Print

Roche Isabel. Character and meaning in the novels of Victor Hugo. New York: Purdue University.2007.Print.

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