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Gatsby Versus Huckleberry Finn: A Battle Between The Two “Greatest”

2867 words - 12 pages

The epic story of an imaginative boy and a runaway slave adrift the Mississippi River on a journey of self-discovery, and the tale of an irrational, love-stricken social elite striving for a dream in the Roaring Twenties is the simplest explanation of the plots for two of American literature’s greatest novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby, respectively. These stories, both appearing to have little to no similarities between them, are habitually not put together as being common tales with common literary elements shared between them; however, this opinion can be refuted. There are similarities between The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby on such literary devices as theme, archetypes, characterizations, and similarities on the origins from which their settings came from.
The shared themes in both stories are on morality, society and class, lies and deceit, and education. The theme of morality meaning knowing and doing what is believed to be right or wrong in the midst of trials. Society and class shows how flawed humanity can be, and how with humanity’s differentiating between classes, there is degradation of other’s integrity. The theme lies and deceit being based on dishonesty is the longest road to travel. Education being a theme expressing how the different levels people have on education somehow invigorates people with the idea that it is okay to treat those on a lower “scholarly” level as if they
Lies and deceit is a theme often seen in children’s books giving a lesson on the consequences they create, but instead, the authors have placed them in adult literature, for all know adults cannot resist the temptation as well. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there are lies after lies after lies told by nearly every character that stepped foot on the raft they had drifting down the river, and the reader sees what results from those lies: confusion, pain, the addition of more challenges the characters had to weasel out of. In The Great Gatsby, all of the lies and deceit led to the death of two characters and strained relationships.
Education is the other theme expressed in both novels with the two authors depicting how education plays a role in people’s treatment of others, how people see each other, and how education affects humanity’s reasoning towards treating each other as if people are not equals. People would often kick Huck or Jim aside because that had not been “properly educated,” and Gatsby knew that if he wanted to climb anywhere up the social ladder, he was going to need to be smart, smart enough to get himself where he wanted and to fit himself in as if he always belonged there. Also seen is how money is not the only thing needed to get where one desires to go. This can be applied to Myrtle Wilson’s situation: “Throughout the novel, Buchanan is described as a massive body directed by a simple mind” (Lena) his simple-mindedness is basically one of his flaws resulting in his loss of...

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