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Love Between Social Classes In The Grapes Of Wrath And The Great Gatsby

1670 words - 7 pages

Of all the archetypes of American literature, none presents such radically evolved ideas as the Modernism movement. Its overarching concepts remain in flux and provide contrasting glimpses of multitudes of topics; however, just as many of its central tenets remain unchanged between novels, years, and the digression from form that humanity’s modern culture condones. The ideas and concepts that John Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald put forth in their novels, The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby, are not exceptions. Specifically, the theme of love across social classes shines through both novels, exhibited in the ineffable drive to lend oneself to another person of a lower class deserving of help.
The ineffable love that shines through both novels does not just span the separation of social class, but it does so silently, with no trace of its beginning except the light of hope it brings to the receiver. This force is not tepid or outspoken in any way; its power simply emanates from a deeper source than most other emotions and ideas. In this way, Steinbeck lets the regrettable but undeniable love of the Okies shine forth in The Grapes of Wrath. He describes Mae, the waitress in a fictional diner, who unknowingly holds in her heart pity for her fellow man. Speaking to an Okie in the diner who was seeking to feed his children with a loaf of bread, Mae said, “’You can have this for ten cents.’ ‘That’d be robbin’ you ma’am.’ ‘Go ahead - Al says to take it.’” (Fitzgerald, 1992). Immediately afterwards, the empyreal, brotherly love she never even knew she entertained makes itself known. Such a feeling was also eminent in The Great Gatsby when Daisy stepped down from her high rung of the social ladder and bestowed her love upon the impoverished James Gatz. This simple act of compassion was not the commonplace display of affection between genders, however. Daisy had offered James Gatz an outlet with which he could fulfill his dream. He had, throughout his whole life, dreamed of being rich. He trained himself in the mannerisms of a man with class and style, and therefore had all the qualities of a wealthy man. The fact that the wealthy Daisy fell for him was a result of pity she had for him, a pity which made an unseen force inside her give the wealthy girl needed inspiration to help Gatsby. Evidently, James Gatz is not vastly different from the impoverished Okies in The Grapes of Wrath in that his need inspired action from those who could help him. He also received love from Daisy, who felt the underlying force of his true conviction to live like had always dreamed of living. This underlying force exists not only in these scenes of the two novels, but runs throughout both storylines. Both sets of protagonists feel the drive of the force and move forwards, inspired by their dreams. Along the way, others that are in a position to help them do so. Through actions such as these, both authors illustrate the common,...

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