The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde vs. The Great Gatsby
In the book, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Stevenson captures the attention of the readers around the idea of a highly respectable man fighting a deeper inner conflict with his “second persona”. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby includes many of the same issues in their life. Multiple characters in The Great Gatsby so face personal challenges of not know and being their true self. The two books were published almost 40 years apart, but it shows that it doesn’t matter who you are and the way people view you as doesn’t matter because they can’t see what is truly on the inside. The topics mentioned in both of the novels are still being talked about today, and are carried out throughout the course of literature. Both authors know how to capture a reader using many writing techniques, which will be mentioned later in this essay. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Great Gatsby are completely different in many aspects.
The two novels have little similarities that they share. The themes are not the same, which is to be expected when Stevenson wasn’t writing for any one to be able to relate to, he was writing a more fiction novel. The writing styles of Fitzgerald are very different to Stevenson’s writing preferences; along with the language used in each novel. Seeing that Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, and setting the book of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in London, England, it was the opposite of the American author, Fitzgerald, that was all about the “American Dream” in the busy business area of New York City. To begin, every writer has their own unique writing style, and it is blatantly obvious that Stevenson has a different writing style, even only reading one of his novels. Fitzgerald uses a lyrical writing style in The Great Gatsby. He uses imagery, symbolism and many metaphors to help the readers achieve the perfect picture of the story in their heads. For example, a metaphor Fitzgerald used in the story is “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”. This metaphor describes the condition of the people in the book.
The characters in the book try to experience life and keep on moving forward like a boat on the water, but get pushed back in the end. He also writes a lot about love and follows the romantic story of Jay Gatsby and his image of the perfect woman named Daisy Buchanan. Stevenson on the other hand, writes about a mysterious terrifying story of a doctor with an evil persona. “Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm”. He used many metaphors, which is one of the only ways Stevenson and Fitzgerald’s writing styles were similar. He wrote and published the book in the Victorian era, filled with manners and gruesome images. He wrote the book to suit the audience of that era, so to the modern world of literature, it seems “old”. Every sentence he wrote was described in great detail, making the reader feel as if they are in the story. In continuation, the setting between The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Great Gatsby are on completely different sides of the spectrum. Robert L. Stevenson set his story to be on the busy streets of London, England. F. Scott Fitzgerald set his novel in the high-end world the rich in Long Island and New York City. It was no trouble to see the difference in characters language between the two books. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde took place in Soho, London, where there was grim alleyways, dark corners, and a population that seemed to have never found a reason to smile. “He would be aware of the great field of lamps of a nocturnal city; then of the figure of a man walking swiftly; then of a child running from the doctor’s; and then these met, and that human Juggernaut trod the child down and passed on regardless of her screams”. The town is gloomy and bad things tend to happen more times than good, which gives the people in it a sense of uneasiness, which makes the story a dreary tale.
Also, there were many servants, and a major difference between the rich and the poor in the book. There was also repression, as well as religious allusion as the Victorian era was a highly religious time. An example of this would be when Dr. Jekyll become more caring towards others and it tells us why he decided to let Hyde come out; because repression was a big part of this book, and the development of characters. The Great Gatsby is set in New York City and on Long Island, in two areas known as ‘West Egg’ and ‘East Egg’. The people that live in those two areas are rich and spent a lot of time worrying about how others perceive them than anything else. They are very judgemental and have a house full of servants that are not as rich as them. They also care more about partying and having a great time, which is nothing like what you see in Stevenson’s novel. But they do share one similar factor, the conflict between the rich and the poor, although in the Great Gatsby it seems to be more violent. Like Tom hitting Myrtle, and Wilson murdering Gatsby. The two authors indeed have a similar setting, like the barrier between the rich and the poor, but they both view it differently, which is portrayed in the novels.Lastly, there are many important themes in the two books but no theme is similar in the two novels. Since both writers were writing different genres in different time periods, and were trying to reach to different audiences, not many things in either of the novels were similar. Dr. Jekyll and Hr. Hyde’s biggest theme is Good vs. Evil. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is easily seen as asymbol about the good and evil that exist in everyone, and about the struggle with the two sides of the human personality.
In this book, the battle between good and evil boils inside the main character. The question the author is trying to get the readers to consider is which is stronger. Since the evil side, Hyde, seems to have most of the control over Dr. Jekyll’s life for most of the novel, it shows that evil may overcome good. Mr. Hyde ends up dying at the end of the story, which suggests the opposite of the previous statement, now showing the weakness amongst evil. On the other hand, F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of the Great Gatsby, wants you to see the American Dream, which is freedom. Freedom is the main theme in The Great Gatsby. These themes carry out from the beginning to the end only becoming stronger and more influential with every page. Many of the characters in novel want to achieve their best possible life, which they call the American Dream. They do so by partying and living life like it’s your last, which in today’s society doesn’t seem like a dream. But, in that time it was the Roaring Twenties, the war had just ended, and they didn’t want to slow down. In previous decades before the 20s, it was taboo to see women living so freely and so open to men around them. They were starting to do things on their own and not rely on anyone; which is a dream for many.
Fitzgerald’s book was written for people to be able to relate, and to get inspired by what to do with possibly the best decade of your life which was a non-stop party, but Stevenson wrote to create a terrifying, yet, touching story of a man quite literally trying to fight his “inner demons”. In conclusion, Robert Louis Stevenson and F. Scott Fitzgerald both wrote a book that touched and inspired many people to this day. Although completely different, they both had a certain way about them that drew the readers in. Whether it be the way Stevenson was able to make a horribly gruesome line into something poetic and beautiful, touches the readers hearts and scares them. Or, it be the way Fitzgerald is able to drag you into the forbidden love between a rich girl and a poor man that is inevitably doomed from the moment you read the beginning of their love story. Both authors are quite unique in their own ways, and are able to create a world that is emotional and disputable all while being beautiful, and insightful. The books indeed have a few similarities but they have countless differences. As previously mentioned, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Great Gatsby have different themes, which is to be expected when set in different time periods. Also, that the writing styles of Fitzgerald are very different to those of Stevenson’s; along with the language used in each novel.
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