The Scarlet Letter vs. the Great Gatsby

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, F. Scott Fitzgerald Pages: 5 (1664 words) Published: May 21, 2013
Are The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby Similar?
The novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel based on adultery and hypocrisy of society. In summary, the novel explains the story of Hester Prynne, a woman who is going through a long and rough period in her life because she is facing major conflicts with her society because of the adultery she has committed. Throughout the story line, Hester deals with conflicts with herself and her society when she is trying to keep the secret of who her husband is and who she had committed adultery with. She is also in conflict with her husband because he is not giving up on finding out who had an affair with her. This classic novel shares many literary elements with The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. However, can we say that both novels are similar? We will discuss this matter by comparing and contrasting the main male tragic heroes in each novel as well as the same themes used in each books. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter, was born on July 4th 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts. He was the second child of a U.S Navy Captain who died of yellow fever in Suriname in 1808. Since he was only four years old, Nathaniel was raised by his older sibling and his mom. As he got older, he grew this insane love for writing. He wrote and published his first piece of literature, The Spectator, in the August of year 1820. To share his talents, he distributed that newsmagazine to all of his loved ones. A year later, Hawthorne enters in Bowdoin College, where he became friends with the future poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and future American President, Franklin Pierce. He then graduated in four years later in 1825. For the next ten years, Hawthorne begins to isolate himself from the world. He decides to stop talking to friends and family to focus on his writing to achieve his goal on becoming a successful author. Three years after his decade of intense isolation, Hawthorne publishes his first novel anonymously, Fanshawe. Unfortunately, Fanshawe did not bring success to Hawthorne at all. After publishing two more short stories with his original name, Nathaniel Hathorne, Hawthorne decides to add a “w” in his last name in 1830 for professional and personal uses. Nine years later, Hawthorne finds a job at the Custom House in Boston. A couple years after, he decides to quit his job to move Brook Farm in Massachusetts until the following November. After a three-year engagement, Hawthorne marries a painter named Sophia Peabody on July 9th 1842. He then has two children with her: Una, his daughter, and Julian, his son. A couple years after his children’s birth, Hawthorne loses his job at the Salem Custom House because of a political shakeup. To revenge his frustration against his town, he starts to work on The Scarlet Letter, a novel that talks about hypocrisy and adultery in Salem. A month later, Hawthorne enters into a deep depression after the death of his mother but still keeps writing on his novel which is published in March, 1850 and becomes a huge success. A little over a decade later, after his third child was born, Hawthorne dies on May 19th, 1864 on a vacation with Franklin Pierce, a friend and the former President of America.

To begin, The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby share many similar characteristics in the two main male characters: Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale from The Scarlet Letter and Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. First of all, they had both committed adultery with the woman they fell in love with. Also, they are both tragic heroes; they are noble but imperfect, successful and powerful men but deal with aggravation in their personal lives and, theses two characters brought their own downfall with their hamartia. Dimmesdale was a respected Reverend who was gifted with wisdom. He lived most of his life in secrecy and regret when he kept silent that he was the man who had committed adultery with Hester Prynne. Because of this, until he...
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