The Great Gatsby And A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

The Great Gatsby And A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

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“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” (T.S. Eliot) By constructing a comparative discussion, say to what extent you consider this to be useful in understanding The Great Gatsby and A Streetcar Named Desire.


Many of the characters in both of the texts feel the need to create their own fantasy as they cannot bear the reality of their own lives. An example of this is the characters covering up the reality of their past by altering the present – Blanche lying about her promiscuous nature and Gatsby altering his identity as a part of a stage play in order to alter the truth and attempt to achieve his dream. In both of the texts, the reveal of reality leads to a tragic ending for the character.

Gatsby and Blanche, have made mistakes in the past which they cannot repair. Gatsby’s mistake is not being fast enough at pursuing Daisy – at the time, he has felt that he wasn’t enough for her, although it was clear that Daisy did love him. He feels that Daisy is the trophy girl, and therefore if he can have her, he can have anything. As Gatsby has been born into a poor family, he thinks that the only way for Daisy to want him is to modify his personality into someone who he isn’t. In the same way, Blanche feels that the only way in which she can be accepted by the community in which she appeared is to live in a lie –“I don 't want realism. I want magic!” she says, showing that it is not important for her to accept the reality of the present. This is different to what Gatsby is trying to achieve, as the southern belle from Streetcar named Desire doesn’t want to achieve anything particular, only make the present more bearable after what happened in her past, whilst Gatsby thinks he has another chance - “[Gatsby] had been full of the ide...


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... physical representation of Blanche’s destruction. Ironically, the rape, and Stanley’s comments in scene 10 and 11 force Blanche to face reality whilst resulting in Stella’s inability to face the reality about Stanley. Although both Gatsby and Blanche are unable to cope with reality, just as Blanche descends into her fantasy, Gatsby simply ends it. Therefore, both of the characters experience a fatal ending to meeting with reality as they are both forced into it without their will. It is possible to argue that if it was by their own choice to make their way out of their illusion, the ending would not be as tragic; a part of their mind which is driving them through their idealised world would not corrupt. However, it was that part of the characters which made them alive, even if it wasn’t in the reality everyone else around was seeing.

































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