Parallel Between “The Great Gatsby” And “Mrs Dalloway”

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

“ Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors. ” This parallel wants to emphasize the several similarities between the novels “The Great Gatsby” writed by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Mrs Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf. Published in 1925, just a month away respectively April 10 and May 14, it is evident that are concerned with similar issues although are writed in two different country, they come from the same era Post-World War I. For example, both novels include the alienation, trauma and anxiety produced by the war are subjects reflected in both novels by the employment of modernist narrative techniques. In Mrs. Dalloway, characters like Clarissa and Septimus are caught rooted into an internal strive less being able to communicate to others their perceptions and plan. Likewise, in The Great Gatsby, the personage constantly fail to disclose with one another The cause of this estrangement in both novels refers to another theme: disillusionment. The personage in Mrs. Dalloway constitute their country as an entire, they face disillusionment with the British Empire. Similarly, The Great Gatsby deals with the failure of the America dream.

They both have a romantic part, which imply a young woman marrying a high-ranking member of society. Clarissa marries Richard rather of her friend, Peter Walsh, during Daisy Fay is affianced to Tom Buchanan. As a man from their past arrives in city, the rekindling of their love is made possible. Still, both women choose to keep the life they have. The rationaliy behind their marriage choices that is so different. If Clarissa refused Peter because she could not accept his controlling character , Daisy could not leave the world of „old money‟. It seems that the British higher class still preserves its values to a particular standard when America features characters that are materialistic and corrupted, participating in organized crime. These connections are mindfully related to the metropolitan backdrop against which the events evolve.

The novels of Virginia Woolf and F. Scott Fitzgerald display exact porous nature of reality, with the persinages and the town reflecting one another up to the point in which they form a symbiotic relationship, while equally delivering a look into the sorrowful years of war. The protagonists reflect their towns which in their turn express the larger area of British and American society. The World War had left a great mark on both the American and the British milieu, conduct to a social and cultural modernization. The Great Gatsby describe the frailty of the age, painting the typical habitants of both East Egg and West Egg as people without any further goal who drifted “here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together” Impressive mansions, loose morals, money made as rapidly as it is used , excess of material possession – the post-war American way of life is described as an infinite party with resonance of jazz rhythms reflecting the attraction of city life.

In contrast to the American frivolity, Peter Walsh, going in London for the first time in five years, compliments the productivity of the passers-by. Namely, “doctors and men of business and capable women all going about their business, punctual, alert, robust, seemed to him wholly admirable” (Mrs. Dalloway ). Peter Walsh appreciates the traditional performance and severity of the English but, at the same time, observe the intrusion of new values such as the freedom of the press to write about taboo subjects as well as the emancipation of women. He remark: “Those five years – 1918 to 1923 – had been, he suspected, somehow very important. People looked different. Newspapers seemed different. Now for instance there was a man writing quite openly in one of the respectable weeklies about water-closets. That you couldn‟t have done ten years ago – written quite openly about water-closets in arespectable weekly. And then this taking out a stick of rouge, or a powder-puff andmaking up in public. On board ship coming home there were lots of young men and girls [. . . ] And they weren‟t engaged; just having a good time; no feelings hurt on either side. (Mrs. Dalloway ).

Indeed, the war played a pivotal role in the emancipation of women from traditional sort roles, given their recently base economic and social independence. In Britain, laws were passed in 1918 that gave women over thirty the right to vote, as long as they were either householders or married to householders. In America, the 19th Amendment was confirmed in August 1920, allowing all women, indifferent of their social status, to exercise the right to vote. Elizabeth Dalloway‟s independence and interest in a professional vocation apparently establish her as an example of the New Woman. The confident way in which Elizabeth moves around contrasts highly with Clarissa Dalloway‟s feelings of invisibility within the city. Clarissa is the persination of the ideas about femininity promoted by the anterior century, and her relationship with the city is formed by the conceived division of spaces. Consequently, she is more connected to the social, internal sphere of life. However, every profession is open to women of the new generation, from law and medicine to politics. Elizabeth is inspired by the city to pursue a quarry: “And she liked the feeling of people working. She liked those churches, like shapes of grey paper, breasting the stream of the Strand. [. . . ] In short, she would like to have a profession. She would become a doctor, a farmer, possibly go into the Parliament if she found it necessary, all because of the Strand. ” (Mrs. Dalloway )

While Mrs. Dalloway looks to be focused more on the professional opportunities offered to the new generation of women, ‘The Great Gatsby’ presents the transitioning of limited and oppressed women to ladies with liberties. Over the twenty years women start to action in stubborn manners for the first time, with their fashions, hairstyles, new abilities such as driving and playing sports, as well as a more open sexuality. The flapper became the female official of the period. Still, America is apparently a place where a girl could cope best by being fairly and a little foolish. Daisy remarks about her daughter that “the best thing a girl can be in this world” is “a beautiful little fool” (The Great Gatsby). In a patriarchal society, Daisy and Myrtle unsuccessfully attempt to confirm their independence through extramarital relationships. Ultimately , Daisy turns out to be as incorporeal and superficial as the powdery white dresses that she is wearing, while the interests that Myrtle express violently turns against her.

In the Post-World War I world, technology and humanity connect to the measure that help as signs of company and identity. For example, while Tom drives a more traditional car, he refers to Gatsby‟s ostentatious, opulent auto as a “circus wagon,” subversive its general identification as a sign of success by labelling it as a symbol of the nouveau riche who do not have the refinement of the aristocracy. In England, the same mark of car, the Rolls-Royce, is a symbol of British refinement, tradition and monarchy, while the bus is the low way of transport which gives the new generation a chance to feel the pulse of the city. The characters itself are presented in mechanical terms. Tom is “sturdy,” with “shining, arrogant eyes,” the “enormous power of that body” allowing his muscles to be seen “shifting” beneath his clothes; his body being “capable of enormous leverage” (The Great Gatsby ). In London, Peter Walsh unsuccessfully tries to preserve up with a joging the many of boys in carriage who “marched, their arms stiff, and on their faces an expression like the letters of a legend written round the base of a statue praising duty, gratitude, fidelity, love of England” (Mrs. Dalloway). The association with the world of machines prefigure the melancholia and the violent liberation of emotions in the novels.

Consequently, in these town ruled by cupidity and alienation, the extravagant parties become unifying forces. In Mrs. Dalloway, the culminant event planned through the very first sentence of the novel is a party given on the evening of the day in which the novel is set. Jay Gatsby equally creates a whole scenario in which the fairy-tale parties would bring to his recovery of his lost love. Both Clarissa and Gatsby act as hosts, as puppeteers who phase an idealistic story of the world in which they try to draft their own hopes and values. Accordingly, the American counterpart to Woolf‟s representation of the social assembly as civilized diversion describe the parties as big, generous , drunken and strong. The excess of the American parties is reflected, for example in the mode in which Gatsby‟s “Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight” (The Great Gatsby). As models of class arrangements, they are as vulgar and various as the Dalloway meeting is polite and select.

For Mrs. Dalloway, the aim is to achieve harmony and devise a memorable moment for her dinner guests. For Jay Gatsby, the aim is to revert to the moment of origin in his relationship with Daisy Fay before he was called to war. However, their effort fails in the long rush. The social events give only the illusion of achievement and connectedness. In contrast to their public front which celebrates life, the private person of Clarissa and Jay are still influenced by the destruction caused by the war and the impossibility to turn back time. Times have changed in the twentieth century and so have people. The death of a man could become the theme of a casual conversation at a party in London or the front page of an American journal. The dream of unity and harmony pursued by Clarissa Dalloway and Jay Gatsby is unvoiced by the pragmatic approach to life of the nouveau riche.

The Great Gatsby notes on the ideals of the 1920‟s, revealing the mores of the American higher-middle class. The elements of satire include the excesses of the nouveau riche, their affectation, ignorance and superficiality. For instance, Tom Buchanan talks at one point the „scientific‟ ideas about the superiority of the white race. If Mrs. Dalloway alludes to the fail of the British Empire, the increase of a “coloured empire” is trembled across the ocean. His ideas seem to be approved by the rest of the members of the upper-middle class. Nick remarks on seeing rich black people driven by a white chauffeur “anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge” (The Great Gatsby ). All dreams of freedom ruin in the face of a self-centred society. Gatsby‟s attempt to supply a durable consolation is vain. The entire novel turns into a parody of the traditional fairy tale. His masochistic pursuance of and ultimately victimization by an unreachable, illusory dream seduces, nourishes and ultimately destroys him. The lack of empathy of the age reaches its peak after Gatsby dies and Mr. Klipspringer calls asking for his tennis shoes.

The two remarkable texts portray the British and American upper (middle) class, mapping the symbiotic connection between the protagonists and their environs. With the arrival of the modern age, innovation and emancipation are followed by a direction of alienation and disillusionment generated by the trauma of the war. The retreat of the protagonists into the past world of romantic imagination or into the present of exuberant parties proves to be vain. Any try to dream is unvoiced by the pragmatism of the modern age. Both novels deliver a social critique of the pompous lifestyle of the upper class by describing their defect in the context of an affectless, materialistic society in which technology and humanity connect to the measure that machines become interconnected with agency and identity. “People disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away. ” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


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