Comparing The Elite In The Great Gatsby And The Age Of Innocence

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Society is constantly under the criticism of authors. Many writers seek to expose certain aspects of American society and their scorn of it. Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald are renowned for their work on this subject. In The Great Gatsby and The Age of Innocence, Fitzgerald and Wharton reveal their cynicism of the societal elite; they find the elite as a severe detriment to American society. Through symbolism and the characterization of their main characters, Wharton and Fitzgerald similarly depict the societal elite as depriving American society from a promising future by refusing to let go of the past. Fitzgerald creates Jay Gatsby to illustrate the elite as a detriment to American society. Gatsby had fallen victim to the American …show more content…

Daisy Buchanan, the “king’s daughter, the golden girl,” (120) represents the famed American Dream. Daisy is the drive behind Gatsby’s efforts to achieve the American Dream. Daisy stands “above the hot struggles of the poor” and “[gleams] like silver;” (150) her beauty invites Gatsby to join her. Gatsby, raised in a poor family, had no right to take a lady of such high standing, but he sought her anyway and fell deeply in love with her. He worked to win her affection for years, while she forgot about him and went on to marry someone else. Still hopeful, Gatsby continues to pursue her and though she seems willing at first, she soon proves unable to grant him his wishes. She does not even attend Gatsby’s funeral. Like the American Dream, Daisy promises Gatsby of her love, but then betrays him and leaves him to be ruined. Both Daisy and the American Dream proved unattainable, and thus they leave their victims lost and ruined. Wharton and Fitzgerald convey a similar message in their novels The Age of Innocence and The Great Gatsby respectively. Wharton focused more on the elite as a detriment while Fitzgerald focused on the American Dream as a detriment. Even so, both authors illustrated their scorn through the development of their characters and symbolism. They illustrated their disapproval of a society that gives them false hope before destroying them in the

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