Muley Graves And Gatsby: Different Lifestyles, Similar People

1445 words - 6 pages

It is no mystery that Muley Graves of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath and Gatsby of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby live very different lives in totally different places. Muley Graves, the Joad’s old neighbor in Oklahoma, doesn’t make the move to California, despite his wife and children going there, while Gatsby lives a lavish lifestyle in a suburb mansion by New York City throwing nightly parties. Despite their differences, they both desire to live in the past while having trouble letting go of the past, go to great lengths to do so, and both are unable to connect with reality when it comes to wanting to recreate the past .
First, both want to live in the past since they can’t seem to let go if it. Muley, despite his family and house being gone, stays in Oklahoma even though there is nothing there for him except constantly being chased by the police. Muley decides to stay in Oklahoma because of his immense pride and his initial belief that everyone will come back when things return back to normal as they were before the Dust Bowl and foreclosures as he says “There ain’t nobody can run a guy name of Graves outa this country” and “I’m lookin’ after things, so that when all the folks come back, things will be alright” (Steinbeck, 2006, p. 51) which he later says he knew wasn’t true. Also, he, obviously, has trouble letting go of the land he lived his entire life on as he recollects the many memories he had there (Steinbeck, 2006 p. 51), and he definitely wants things to go back to the time before the foreclosures because of his love of the land. Similarly, Gatsby still tries to win back Daisy because of his maintained love for her. Gatsby wants to live in the past because he wants to recreate what he had going with Daisy and he can’t let go of his memories and love of her. He makes this known by how upset he is after the party he invites Daisy because the party didn’t turn out perfectly as Daisy didn’t enjoy the party. His uneasy feeling stems from him wanting everything to go just as it did five years ago when they first fell in love in Louisville (Fitzgerald, 1953). In addition, he openly tells Nick that he believes that he in fact can recreate the past. Gatsby, too, has trouble letting go of Daisy as he gets a mansion across the bay from her and still fantasizes about her even after five years apart. In comparison, even though they both seem to want to live in the past, Gatsby is more obvious about his desire to while Muley’s desire to live in the past is more subtly implied as he doesn’t say it directly. Plus, both seek different things, as Gatsby wants to get back with Daisy while Muley wants to be able to live in Oklahoma like he was able to do much easier in the past. All in all, a desire to live in the past is evident in both Muley and Gatsby.
Next, Gatsby and Muley take extreme measures in order to try to recreate the past. Even after his own wife and child leave for California, Muley lives as a vagabond moving from place...

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