Comparing Love In The Great Gatsby And Browning's Sonnets

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Explore the ways in which a comparative study of your TWO prescribed texts demonstrate how context plays a significant role in portraying values.

In exploring the views expressed by composers of varying epochs, audiences are privy to the ways of thinking in these respective times to shape their own perspectives. Scott Fitzgerald in his satirical novel The Great Gatsby (Gatsby) (1925) is influenced by the post-war, jazz age values and ideas of modernism while Elizabeth Barret Browning’s poetry Sonnets from the Portuguese (Sonnets) (1850) is influenced by the Victorian Era and portrays ideas of romanticism. These varying contexts significantly assists both texts in sharing their differing perspectives on the definition of love
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The emerging socio-economic changes after World War 1 which lead to the Great Depression has transformed the perceptions on love as influenced by materialistic values and ideas; wealth, class, and status. Daisy is described as a ‘golden girl,’ with a voice ‘full of money,’ which alliteratively elucidates her wealth and beauty through the symbolic colour of gold, the main facet that initially engenders Gatsby’s love. Furthermore, her voice being “full of money” metaphorically reinforces the power of wealth that dictates Gatsby’s love for daisy, contrasting with the Victorian perspective on love. The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock symbolises the greed and obsession with momentary wealth that undermines the purity of the love Gatsby has for Daisy. This love for Daisy is overshadowed by his attempts to accumulate wealth and status in order to buy a reciprocation of his feelings as highlighted through the descriptive language and layering in “period bedrooms swathed in rose and lavender silk and vivid new floors” and “a toilet set of pure dull gold” which reveals the culture of conspicuous consumerism that Gatsby believes will earn him Daisy’s love. Hence, influenced by the post-war, Jazz age society, Fitzgerald clearly portrays ideas of materialism and superficial love in his novel whereas Browning portrays love as pure and transcendental as influenced by the contrasting…show more content…
The hedonistic society of the roaring twenties were fostered with male supremacy, in which the societal norms objectified women, greatly influencing Fitzgerald’s portrayal of Daisy. Her lower status under the guise of patriarchy is highlighted when Tom and Gatsby supress her from making any decisions as reflected when Gatsby asserts “Your wife doesn’t love you. She never loved you, she loves me.” The forceful, commanding semantics and the high modality language of ‘never’ elucidates the power of male dominance on the social conventions of the roaring twenties to such an extent that the female’s choices are overshadowed by the males. Furthermore, Fitzgerald uses connotations associated with ‘fool’ to depict women as the inferior, powerless gender in the society, as highlighted when daisy asserts “I’m glad it’s a girl. And I Hope she’ll be a fool – that’s best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” The juxtaposition between ‘beautiful’ and ‘fool’ also emphasizes the contradictory expectation of society on women in that they are romanticised as being ‘beautiful,’ yet otherwise remain as insignificant, powerless fool, almost mirroring the societal expectations of women in the Victorian Era. Hence, influenced by the patriarchal society of both the Jazz are and the Victorian Era, both composers reflect similar values and ideas on the

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