‘Texts in time’ involves portrayals, in varying contexts, of the experience of idealised love, hope and mortality. Analyse TWO differences between Browning’s and Fitzgerald’s portrayals, making two detailed reference to your prescribed texts.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the selected love sonnets; I, XIII, XIV, XXI, XXII, XXVIII, XXXII, XLIII by Elizabeth Barrett Browning explore texts in time which involve portrayals in varying contexts through the experience of idealised love, hope and mortality. The portrayals of Barrett Browning and Fitzgerald explore the differences of idealised love and time throughout both texts with the use of symbolism, imagery, irony and characterisation to emphasise these differences. The Great Gatsby set during the Jazz age is an exemplification of the failure and tragedy of the American Dream as well as the fragmented world where love struggles to survive. This contrasted to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s love sonnets set in the wake of the Romantics, making the sonnets in many ways typically Victorian with their tone of gloom and sorrow as well as their feeling of the force and intensity of their passion as the love grows and develops.
Time within The Great Gatsby exposes how Gatsby is trying to re-incarnate the past by showing to Daisy that he has created an affluent life for himself, thus hoping she will be with him in the future. This illusion creates a sense of irony in the story because Gatsby who has the money to possess and attract anything or anyone, cannot have or buy the thing he most wants and desires; his past love for Daisy. Gatsby’s nostalgia for his old self and the love that is symbolised is like Fitzgerald’s portrait of America’s nostalgia for its lost values. Like Gatsby, America seems to have everything in the midst of the blooming 20’s, but has lost something along the process. Even in the midst of Gatsby’s corrupt world there lies a hope in his love for Daisy. This hope is symbolised by the green light situated at the end of the wharf in front of Daisy’s house at East Egg. This light reminds Gatsby that he is close to having his dream come true, the dream he so desperately longs for “...he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way...I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away”, even though he doesn’t have Daisy yet, this green light provides reassurance and hope that he is close to having her in the future. This continuous hope of the past being re-incarnated for Gatsby started to seem like it was finally underway with the melancholic tone that the novel resurfaces during Gatsby and Daisy’s reunion at Nick’s house. We are shown through Gatsby’s melancholic longing his expression painted on his face “as pale as death” which symbolises not only the sense of nervousness but also the relief of finally reaching the longed for moment of being with Daisy. The tragedy of Gatsby is that he is being illusional because Daisy who was “the first nice girl he had ever met” changed into a “materialistic, vacuous individual who cannot see past herself”. This change in characterisation triggers the reality that Gatsby’s dream will never come true no matter how much he hopes it will. It is shown through the novel the birth of Gatsby’s dream which is never fulfilled and instead he dies for it with the instant bullet which ends it all. Whilst a bullet ends a dream in The Great Gatsby, in the sonnet sequence Elizabeth focuses on the internal, everlasting love between herself and her lover which goes beyond the temporal and beyond death. The dynamic nature of her context through her allusions tells us about her world. The nature and power of her love allows her to transcend her society; she can leave the patriarchal oppression of her past behind as well as escape the curtailment of her world because the love is complete. Elizabeth has had a...
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