“the Most Iconic Characters in Literature Are Alienated by the Changing World Around Them.” Discuss These Ideas in Relation to the Great Gatsby and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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“The most iconic characters in literature are alienated by the changing world around them.” Discuss these ideas in relation to The Great Gatsby and Nineteen Eighty-Four. In ‘The Great Gatsby,’ Fitzgerald frequently demonstrates how isolated his strongest characters are by the world around them through a variety of techniques. Both Nick and Gatsby are presented as being alienated from the world in some way and, as suggested by William Troy, both characters represent two forces in Fitzgerald’s own life – “’intelligent and responsible’ vs. ‘dream ridden romantic.’” He uses symbolism frequently throughout the novel to suggest that this split autobiographical portrayal of his characters is representative of the limbo between “‘power’ and ‘dream’” as said by Lionel Trilling in his critical essay, and the immovability this creates within people. I find confinement of characters is shown in the novel through a use of pathetic fallacy. Fitzgerald also uses the novel to introduce the theme of class and demonstrate how wealth constricts different people in different ways, despite sometimes seeming like the key to happiness. Many of these ideas are echoed in ‘Nineteen Eight-Four,’ in which Orwell uses symbolism to emphasise his totalitarian oppressive society. One way Fitzgerald portrays his characters as confined by the world around them is through his use of pathetic fallacy. The phrase ‘weather-beaten’ is used to describe Nick’s bungalow on the West Egg and this implied that it wasn’t just the people in ‘The Great Gatsby’ that the weather and change bore down on, but the buildings too. When Nick first visits Tom Buchanan at his home, Fitzgerald says the two men talk on ‘the sunny porch’ with the sunshine here being presented as a sense of optimism that Nick can find companionship with a man he knew at ‘Yale’. When Nick talks to Daisy during that first visit, he tells her there’s a ‘persistent wail all night’ along the shore of where they’ve left; Nick is bowing to Daisy’s desire to be missed by personifying nature to allow it to chase after her, much like Gatsby. Sunshine again is used by Fitzgerald to present those who are indulgently wealthy when Nick visits Tom and Myrtle’s apartment which was ‘full of cheerful sun’ until night time and alcohol were brought into the story. Alcohol is usually accompanied with darkness within the novel, to reflect Fitzgerald’s potential personal distaste as a recovering alcoholic at the point of writing the novel. Of Gatsby’s parties, it is said they are held on ‘summer nights,’ a phrase still managing to retain the concept of summer and nice weather to attach to the wealth. Once Nick has arranged the meeting between Daisy and Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses pathetic fallacy to mirror Gatsby’s emotions within the chapter. As he waits for Daisy coloured with ‘embarrassment,’ it is ‘pouring rain’ but once Daisy arrives and he sees her with ‘unreasoning joy’ it has ‘stopped raining,’ and finally as Nick leaves Daisy and Gatsby looking at each other with ‘wonder’ over a piano, there are ‘twinkle-bells of sunshine’ leaving a sense of hope to the chapter that the constraining rain did not hold. Again, at Gatsby’s funeral, Fitzgerald writes the weather to very clearly reflect the character’s moods. Nick is deeply saddened by the loss of his friend and the rain is repeatedly described to be ‘thick’ and ‘heavy,’ a force to be reckoned with that the characters must move ‘through to the cars.’ The rain is shown to hang around Nick, replacing the people the funeral lacks in attendance and shows that Fitzgerald thinks it is a trapping task for a man to abandon the side of him that dreams. Similarly, Orwell also uses metaphor at the beginning of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four,’ as Winston enters Victory Mansions to describe the ‘swirl of gritty dust’ following him into the building, reminiscent of how the Party trace every movement and every action, confining their citizens in the most suffocating of manners; the dust...
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