Parallel Themes in the Great Gatsby and Winter Dreams

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The Great Gatsby and “Winter Dreams”, each written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, share many similarities. Both stories feature a self-made man that foolishly believes that by increasing his social status, he can achieve personal fulfillment. These protagonists also each hold their “perfect” women to impossible standards, often confusing the sharp clarity of reality with their rose-tinted points of view. Each of these women has obvious flaws, yet neither Gatsby nor Green acknowledge that these imperfections exist. The similarities between Gatsby and Green provide insight to the parallel themes that run throughout The Great Gatsby and “Winter Dreams”.

Jay Gatsby and Dexter Green share a very similar childhood. Each came from a middle-class family, yet neither let their inherited social caste stop their ambitions of wealth and luxury from becoming a reality. In fact, these men believed early on that they were destined for bigger and better things than their fathers were. However, Gatsby earns his fortune through illegal activities, and must associate with shadier characters in order to do so. He is so focused on pursuing his dream of wealth that the means by which this wealth is produced do not matter. Green’s pursuit of wealth is not quite as successful. Having earned his money through legitimate sources and hard work, he does not allow himself to feel comfortable around the very people he once aspired to befriend, thinking that this new status is purchased, rather than deserved. Neither man finds personal fulfillment through their wealth and status.

Another similarity between Gatsby and Green is that they each fall in love with the beautiful and ignorant rich girl, who does not return the same affections. Gatsby uses his illegally gained wealth to impress his former girlfriend, Daisy Buchanan, who married another man while Gatsby was at war. She entertains his pursuits, but only until it was not beneficial to her to do so. Green also uses money to impress Judy...
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