Essay, Research Paper: Great Gatsby And Ethan Frome

Literature: The Great Gatsby

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The attempt to capture the American dream is a theme in many novels, and that is
no exception when it comes to The Great Gatsby and Ethan Frome. Jay Gatsby, the
central figure in The Great Gatsby, had the American dream that he could acquire
happiness through wealth and power. Ethan Frome, the main character in the Edith
Wharton novel Ethan Frome, is a man who wants to acquire happiness through his
marriage with Zeena. Ethan Frome and Jay Gatsby both had fates that would come
true later in the novel. These two novels are very similar in many ways. One
similarity in the novels is that both men, Jay Gatsby and Ethan Frome, lived in
a world of silence. Jay once had a love affair with a lady named Daisy. He
understood that he could not marry her because of the difference in their social
status. Jay moves away from her to acquire wealth, then later buys a house just
across the bay from Daisy. Jay throws big parties and hopes she will come to
them. But Jay does not attend them himself, watching the parties from a distance
in his own world of silence. In Wharton's novel, Ethan Frome is a man who lives
in Starkfield, Massachusetts. In this novel, winter symbolizes loneliness and
bitterness which is what Ethan Frome's life is a symbol of. Frome's mother died
in winter, so Ethan married Zeena because he was afraid of being alone. Zeena
only brought Ethan bitterness and loneliness. Ethan Frome does not look forward
to spending any time with Zeena. Jay Gatsby and Ethan Frome both duplicate their
problems in these two novels. Jay Gatsby duplicates his problem by meeting Daisy
again. Gatsby asks people if they know Daisy and finds her cousin. Her cousin
sets up a meeting with the two and they start seeing each other again. This just
leads Gatsby to his fate of being with Daisy again and being killed. Gatsby
shows his true love for Daisy when the two are in a car accident. She is driving
the car when they wreck and he takes the blame for the accident. Later, Jay was
eventually shot while lounging in his pool, which was his fate. Ethan and Mattie
plan on being together and preserving their happiness by attempting suicide.
That duplicated his problem with Zeena, but Ethan pictures Mattie as the warm
sunshine unlike Zeena, who he pictured as the bitter winter. In order to achieve
happiness, Ethan must either be with Mattie or create an image in his mind of
being with Mattie. Ethan needs to leave Starkfield and escape the loneliness of
winter and find warmth and love. In these two novels, the two main characters
want to acquire happiness, which is their American dream. Their tragic lives are
overshadowed by gloom and hopelessness. Both Jay Gatsby and Ethan Frome lived a
tragic life and lived in a world of silence. Both men duplicate their problems
by starting lives with Daisy and Mattie. Both men have fates, Gatsby's was to
die and to be with Daisy, and Frome's was to be with Mattie. Jay Gatsby and
Ethan Frome both live out their American Dream. Everybody has a dream no matter
what it is, and everybody strives to fulfill it and that is what Jay Gatsby and
Ethan Frome did in these two novels.

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