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Goodbye Columbus

Powerful Essays
Sometimes there are two novels that have the same theme, and sometimes they have the same plot, but in the case of the two novels, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the novel Goodbye Columbus, by Philip Roth they explore the same dynamics of the chase of the American dream. In both novels there are similar themes, they both use the idea of sex and money as a form of power. Both novels can relate to each other because the authors decided to show how the pursuit of the American dream may not always be a good thing, and how sex and money can cause problems in that pursuit. Overall in both of the novels the reoccurring theme of sex, money and the search for the American dream is present and in both novels the authors show that just because it may seem like someone may have everything, that is not always the case. The idea of the new world verses the old world is a major premise in the novel Goodbye Columbus. In this novel there are two families who live very different lives. The Patimkin family, and the Klugman family. They represent the struggle between the new and old world. The Patimkin family is the wealthy middle-class family and they live in the hills, they also belong to the country club, which is a representation of having money and living the American dream. The idea of belonging to the country club is a major part of the novel. The country club gave the Patimkin’s a replica of middle class life in America. Since the Patimkin’s were Jewish they didn’t have the opportunity to belong to a regular country club, they belonged to the Jewish one, which is why it was the closest replica of the American dream to them, because they were not allowed to be part of the non-Jewish country clubs. The Patimikin’s represent the new world, they achieved higher success and they are able to identify with the non-Jewish part of middle class society a lot more then their fellow Jewish immigrants who have not fully assimilated to society. On the other side of the coin there is the Klugman family. They represent the old world. They live in the valley with the rest of the Jewish immigrants and they live meagerly because they do not have that much and they have not gained much success in their lives while living in the United States. The two characters that represent the old and new world are Brenda Patimkin and Neil Klugman. To Neil, Brenda represents what he doe...

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...ce her to do something she didn’t really want to do. Brenda too had her faults, she was raised thinking she was a princess, just as Daisy thought that she was special because she had always been raised as a wealthy young girl, and both women always got what they wanted. So when Brenda was with Neil she expected him to treat her the same way her father had always treated her, and she expected to get what she wanted when she wanted it. The conflict between what each person wanted is what lead to the end of both novels. In Goodbye Columbus Neil and Brenda split after Neil realizes that he wants a way out of the relationship, so the two end up breaking up in the end. In The Great Gatsby Daisy and Gatsby never end up together, but Gatsby’s undying devotion to Daisy does end up getting him killed. This shows that the theme of sex in both novels is there to prove that it is not always the best thing to have and that it is not the foundation for a very good relationship. The theme of sex has more to do with having power, which is something that all of the characters in both novels dream about having.

Bibliography
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald Goodbye Columbus, by Philip Roth
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