Essay on The Dark Depths Of Love And The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Essay on The Dark Depths Of Love And The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

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At first glance, the connection between Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is not evident. However, both the “Sonnets” and Gatsby share strong themes of the pursuit of love as an ideal, but the context of each text dictates a very different perspective on the necessity of a religious ideal. Browning’s “Sonnets” explore the deep depths of love and the powerful need for religion in her life in a Victorian context, whereas Fitzgerald’s Gatsby explores the corruption of the ideal of love and the absence of the necessity to have religion in the context of the Jazz Age.

By juxtaposing each text’s version of love and what encapsulates a relationship, the reader is able to contrast the different versions of love in Browning’s “Sonnets” and Fitzgerald’s Gatsby. Browning’s ideal love is honest whilst Fitzgerald posits an age in which ideal love is one of lies, based on wealth and superficialities. Browning’s views are reflective of the romanticism of the Victorian Era. Sonnet I, Browning’s more innocent sonnet, explores love as a distant and foreign concept. Her pursuit of love is a tedious journey that eventually ends happily. Browning draws empathy from the reader with, “I saw, in gradual vision through my tears, The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years, Those of my own life” depicting her life before love as a life of sadness and sickness and death. The accumulative effect of “sweet, sad year, the melancholy years” creates a sad, reflective tone. Browning’s emotive use of “Through my tears” suggests the sadness she has endured over the years of living as a Victorian woman under patriarchal control. In a later sonnet Browning begins to envision love as not a ...

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...pense of caring about any permanency or spiritual well-being.

Throughout the exploration of Browning’s “Sonnets” and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby the shared perspective of the pursuit of ideals (or the lack thereof) are conflicting due to their respective contexts. The strict, controlled and rigid world of a Victorian woman whose poems reveal the pursuit of the ideal form of love as liberating, passionate, sincere and shared, with an understanding of the value of religion, is evidenced in Browning sonnets. Fitzgerald’s world of the Jazz Age reveals the frivolity, transience and social irresponsibility that characterized America in the ‘20s. The pursuit of the ideal of love for Gatsby, therefore, is represented as one devoid of any religious or spiritual value and doomed to failure. It is based on a dream, not reality and is not, therefore, liberating or shared.

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