Module a; Comparative Texts Texts in Time

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Module A – Comparative Study of Texts
Elective 2: Texts in Time (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese) The two comparative texts, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese reflect changing values and perspectives of the modernistic 1920s and the Victorian Era of the mid 19th Century. Through the change in context and literary form, The Great Gatsby reshapes our understanding of ideal love, yet maintains its attraction to fit the rise of the materialistic society in contrast to Browning’s Victorian Age of repression, abstinence and rigid moral behaviour. Fitzgerald exposes idealised love as something oppressive and destructive, which cannot be attained. Set in the context of the Jazz Age, ideal love is almost an impossible dream for Gatsby as idealisation can ever only be based on physical and superficial elements. Gatsby’s extent of love for Daisy is evident when he was “breathless” and saw her “gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor.” The use of imagery describing Daisy reinforced how deeply in love he was with her. Gatsby purchases a mansion across Daisy’s residence symbolising the need for him to be close to her as well as the parties he arranges at his house which are illuminated with lights. These lights are a symbolism for attracting the “moths” metaphoric of Gatsby’s party guests but mainly to attract Daisy to his presence. Gatsby’s parties also represent the idea that the original purity of the American dream, which stood for values such as achievement, family, loyalty and an individuals “pursuit of happiness”, had been destroyed. The moral, social and spiritual values of the old America had been replaced by the search for money and pleasure. Gatsby’s hope of winning Daisy’s love is symbolised by Fitzgerald’s use of the “green light” situated at the end of the dock in front of Daisy’s house. Although...
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