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How Does the Character of Gatsby Reflect the Theme of Isolation and Loneliness in “the Great Gatsby” in Comparison to the Theme in Fitzgerald’s Short Stories “All the Sad Young Men”

  • Date Submitted: 05/25/2014 06:22 AM
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How does the character of Gatsby reflect the theme of isolation and loneliness in “The Great Gatsby”   in comparison to the theme in Fitzgerald’s short stories “All the sad young men”
Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” has often been described as the “definitive” representation of life in American 1920’s, where the illusion of happiness in the character of Gatsby, hides a sad loneliness. The American literary critic, Lionel Trilling (1905-75) argues that Gatsby’s character embodies the key aspects of America’s dreams and realities. The hopes and aspirations of America were being distorted by materialism and consumerism of 20th century life. The character of Gatsby is a portrayal of this generation; even with his immense amount of wealth and his appearance of success he is isolated and stands apart from society. Many aspects of Gatsby’s life depict his isolation:   his relationship with Daisy, Gatsby as “The host”, the rumours about him and his family background. A similar theme is also illustrated in three of Fitzgerald’s short stories “All the sad young men” which are “The rich boy”, “Winter Dreams” and “Absolution”. The main characters of “The rich boy” and “winter dreams” are portrayed as alone through failed relationships whereas the main character       in ‘’Absolution’’ is alone and isolated due to his family break-up.
The extent of Gatsby’s isolated life is illustrated through his relationship and obsession with Daisy.   As a young Lieutenant before he left to fight in France he falls in love with Daisy, ‘’The Officer looked at Daisy ...in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at sometime’’. During his absence, Daisy married Tom Buchanan and from the moment he returned Gatsby vowed to win her back. Daisy’s maiden name “Fay” is an old English word for fairy and Gatsby has obviously fallen under her spell as he became focused on the dream that Daisy will be his once again “he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way ... distinguished...


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