Both vital characters, Daisy Buchanan and Lena Grove, symbolize the central focus of their novels, even though they might be labeled as minor, flat characters. Although the 1920’s and the 1930’s are two distinct time periods, the significance of Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby and Lena Grove in Light in August is portrayed through the settings of their stories, their parallel personalities, and their success in regard to the impact of their behaviors. Their actions and presence is the eye of the hurricane as every event revolves around them.
Despite the difference in settings in Fitzgerald’s 1920’s and Faulkner’s 1930’s, Daisy and Lena embody their decades. First, the “Roaring Twenties” was an era of modernization and portrayed the “… finest values of the Western culture, the American Dream” (9), yet Gatsby, specifically, demonstrates how the “American Dream” has, in fact, lost the reputable symbol of affluence. Daisy Buchanan is important to the central concept of riches and the ambitions to acquire them in Gatsby as she demonstrates the idea of reputable and established wealth with her luxurious mansion and her flamboyant husband, Tom Buchanan. Overall, “All that is left in Fitzgerald’s novel is the crude pursuit of wealth and the superficial glamour that wealth provides.” (Gross 10). Evidence of the importance Daisy plays in establishing the concept of influence acquired through privilege takes place within the myriad of eccentric parties populated by gold chains and flappers at every corner. Daisy is the embodiment of luxury and central to the theme of those that have versus those that have not by paying the ultimate price, complacency and boredom as the signature of prestige.
On the other hand, Lena Grove comes from a small town in Alabama and walks her pregnant self to Jefferson in pursuit of Lucas Burch, the father of her baby. Although Light in August is set in the south in the 1930s, Dan Vogel states “…the life of Faulkner’s Country does not reflect conditions prevailing during the period in which these stories are set” (Satan 179). However, the novel does demonstrate “… the most dominating fact of the southern past…the specter of race” as an image of the prosaic people and setting in the South during the 1930’s with the shack like homes and familiar faces (Dalton 178). Faulkner describes Lena on her adventure to Jefferson, “… a fool gal don’t have to come as far as Mississippi to find out that whatever place she run from ain’t going to be a whole lot different or worse than the place she is at” (23). In fact, the simplicity of the South during the thirties supports the readily acceptable concept of picking up a pregnant stranger on the streets and driving her to her destination. Daisy and Lena, despite their contrasting settings, share similar significance to the development of the novels because of the influence their surroundings have on their individual roles and the central theme of their stories.
In comparison, both Daisy...