Comparing Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Comparing Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


   The Roaring Twenties bring to mind a generation of endless partying, which reflected very little of the morals of the generations preceding it. The world, for that generation, was fast-paced and thoroughly material, crowded with bizarre and colorful characters like David Belasco and Arnold Rothstein. Inspired by this era's "spiritually exhausted people" (Brians), F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock address many of the same themes in attempting to restore the "lost generation." In developing these themes, both authors utilize weather, the concept of illusion versus reality and the direction of time as a mode of conveying the promise of their dream to the citizens of the Jazz Age.

In both The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Great Gatsby, weather and time of day play an important part in setting the tone and mood. Prufrock sets out in the evening, a time of uncertainty, neither day nor night, to confront his past. Likewise, the important events in the Great Gatsby occur at a significant time of day. Once, when Gatsby talked to Nick about his past, Nick describes it as "a time of confusion," (Fitzgerald 102) which the evening time has come to symbolize. Also, the time of final confession in the Great Gatsby was the night Daisy rejected Gatsby (148). Even the covering of the night was not enough to hide the disenchantment of his dream. At this time, Gatsby tells the whole truth about his past and his relationship with Daisy. This past was set in October, as was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. When Gatsby looks back through the mists of time, he sees a perfect ...


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...both authors sought to communicate to their societies, the beauty of a dream uncorrupted by senseless illusions. In using the weather, the concept of illusion versus reality and the direction of time to convey the promise of their dream to the citizens of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald and Eliot contrast the frustration and despair that was inherent in a spiritually bankrupt world with the fulfillment characteristic of a more grounded and less immoral lifestyle.

 
Works Cited:
 

Bewley, Marius. "Some Notes on The Great Gatsby." Mizener 70-76.

Eliot, T.S.. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams. New York: Norton, 1996. 2459-2463.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 1925. New York: Scribner Classic, 1986.

Pinion, F. B. A T.S. Eliot Companion. Totowa: Barnes & Noble Books, 1986.

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