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Comparing The Great Gatsby And Ethan Frome

1015 words - 5 pages

The Great Gatsby and Ethan Frome are a novel and a movie written by two different authors, during two different time periods and may have seemed completely different. The main characters in these books, Ethan Frome and Jay Gatsby, appeared to be two distinct people, but in one aspect or another came together as one. Isolation from society, silence, and desire for something they cannot have are three similarities that bring these characters together.
Both Jay and Ethan suffer from isolation in society, great loneliness, and emptiness, never ending up achieving their dreams. Everything that Jay Gatsby has done in his adult life has been with the sole purpose of fulfilling the more unrealistic of dreams – to recapture the past. However, as he grew into a young man he had little to nothing, having voluntarily estranged himself from his family, and was left on his own to reinvent himself. Although he became a different man, changing his name from Jimmy Gatz to Jay Gatsby, becoming extremely successful, and throwing extravagant and outrageous parties all the time, Gatsby was still in a sense, alone. Ever since he moved to his house on West Egg. Long Island, even though he would see thousands of people at his house every week, Gatsby was more alone than ever. He did not have any close friends and people did not know much about him. People often made up rumours about the “Great” Jay Gatsby and never thought twice about making things up because Mr. Gatsby would never know who made them or sometimes what they even were. After Gatsby’s death is one very clear example of how Mr. Gatsby was all people talked about and everyone knew of him but no one knew him. Or, at least, people did not think of him as someone associated with society, he was, as alone as one can be. When there was a party at Jay’s house, everyone was there, but when it came to his funeral, “no one arrived except more police and photographers and newspaper men” (9.20). At first, Ethan Frome was very much the opposite; everyone knew him in his small town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, however, isolation was forced upon Ethan by outside circumstances, and was not self-imposed before the tragedy that befalls him and Mattie. Ethan tried to escape the isolation of Starkfield and his father's farm by going off to the technological college at Worcester. He began to cultivate his own social traits and to overcome his reticence; however, his father's death forced him to give up college and return to the farm and his ill mother. After his marriage to Zeena, Ethan is imprisoned by the farm, millwork, and caring for Zeena. He is physically isolated from the world at large and is also cut off from the possibility of any human fellowship that life in a village might afford. Because the attempted escape from isolation by Ethan and Mattie fails tragically, Ethan, Mattie, and Zeena are left...

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