This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Social Criticism In The Great Gatsby And Great Expectations

2254 words - 9 pages

Authors often use their works to convey criticisms of society. Such works of literature do not directly criticize specific real people or events. They do however present a sense of the writer's concern with issues of social injustice and misguided values. Two strong examples of social criticism through literature are Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In both novels the writers project their social criticisms to the reader through the use of characterization and setting. Great Expectations was written and set in mid-Victorian England, having been first published as a serial in "All The Year Round" a weekly English periodical. Dickens used this form of publication to incrementally dose his readers with his criticisms of Victorian English Society. In this work the writer uses setting to influence character; thereby showing how social problems arise from people conform too the political, social and economic elements of society. The Great Gatsby was written and set in "jazz-era" 1920's America. With this novel Fitzgerald criticizes a different society than that of Great Expectations that has different problems. However the author still uses the relationship between setting and character to bring to life a critical portrayal of American 1920's society.With Great Expectations Dickens strongly criticizes three social problems that afflict Victorian England: the treatment of children, the injustice of the social class structure and the inhumanity of government and Law. In the authors time children were objectified as a virtually cost free commodity of labor to support the industrial revolution. Dickens expresses criticism of the abuse of children in Britain through characterization in Great Expectations. The most poignant example of this is the storys protagonist Phillip Pirrip, referred to throughout the novel as Pip. Pip portrays the abuse of children through example. During childhood he receives regular beatings and constant harassment by his sister and guardian Mrs. Joe. Being an orphan he is considered a burden not only by Mrs. Joe but also by her family and friends, as expressed early on in the story by the unanimity of all present (save Joe) around the dinner table at Christmas. This universal malice against Pip for being a young child who is dependent for the basic necessities of life establishes and carries the novels theme of the dehumanization of children in Britain. In fact Pip is eventually legally bound to Joe as forced labor in his blacksmith shop. The paradigm of Victorian child mistreatment is further established as one realizes that Pips indentures are a favorable alternative to being sent to a forced labor work mill, as was the status-quo for orphans and unwanted children. Other lesser characters are examples of Dickens' displeasure with social regard for children. Trabbs Boy, the young boy of Pips age who is bound to work for the tailor and labor at his yolk is only shown during...

Find Another Essay On Social criticism in The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations

Social Relationships in "The Great Gatsby"

1111 words - 4 pages Novelists are often concerned with exploring the confusions and complexities of social relationships. In the context, confusions refer to puzzling relationships, which are confusing to comprehend. Whereas, complexities relate to complicated and intricate issues. The different social relationships discussed in F.Scott Fitzgerald's novel, "The Great Gatsby", are business colleagues, lovers and married partners. The characters involved in these

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Life, Narrator, and Criticism in The Great Gatsby

1823 words - 7 pages , narrator Nick Carraway, and literary criticism. Back then this good book called The Great Gatsby was released in 1925 (Shain). He could not think of anything else for the next novel (Shain). When it came to the twenties he was over his head (Shain). Fitzgerald was like a brother to Graham. She stopped all the rumors about him from his recent novels and stories (Doreski). Their social lives raised put more effort to make repeating small stories, for

Social Hierarchy Great Expectations

1833 words - 8 pages prominent. Great Expectations, set in Victorian times, successfully demonstrates the theme of social class and how this social hierarchy can be an inaccurate measure of self worth. This primary theme shows how setting affects Pip’s understanding, ultimately drawing him to the conclusion that treating others with respect is more important than social standing. Dickens incorporates various settings such as the Satis house, Walworth castle, the

A Feminist Criticism of Dickens' "Great Expectations"

1991 words - 8 pages A Feminist Criticism of Dickens' "Great Expectations" Of all the modern theories that are embraced under the umbrella-term of `critical Theory', feminist criticism is undoubtedly the most agreeable to apply. Drawing on notions and theories from psychoanalytical criticism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, and Marxist criticism, it seeks to bring to light the inequality between the sexes in literature, and how

Comparison and Contrast in The Great Gatsby

1803 words - 7 pages Comparison and Contrast in The Great Gatsby       The success of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is in part due to his successful characterization of the main characters through the comparison and contrast of Daisy Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan and George B. Wilson, and Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby. The contrast is achieved through two principle means: contrasting opposite qualities held by the characters and

Illusion and Reality in The Great Gatsby

1584 words - 6 pages illusion in his life.    The Great Gatsby is a tightly structured, symbolically compressed novel whose predominant images and symbols reinforce the idea that Gatsby's dream exists on borrowed time. Fitzgerald perfectly understood the inadequacy of Gatsby's romantic view of wealth. At a young age he met and fell in love with Ginevra King, a Chicago girl who enjoyed the wealth and social position to which Fitzgerald was always drawn. After being

Lies and Deciet in The Great Gatsby

1321 words - 5 pages Lying has deadly effects on both the individual who lies and those around them. This concept is demonstrated in The Great Gatsby. Although Gatsby, Tom and Myrtle have different motives for being deceitful, they all lie in order to fulfill their desires and personal needs. Myrtle’s desire to be wealthy is illustrated when she first meets Tom, dressed in his expensive clothing, as her attitude changes when she puts on the luxurious dress and when

Lies and Deceit in "The Great Gatsby"

1258 words - 5 pages Lying has deadly effects on both the individual who lies and those around them. This concept is demonstrated in The Great Gatsby. Although Gatsby, Tom and Myrtle have different motives for being deceitful, they all lie in order to fulfill their desires and personal needs. Myrtle's desire to be wealthy is illustrated when she first meets Tom, dressed in his expensive clothing, as her attitude changes when she puts on the luxurious dress and when

Lies and Deceit in The Great Gatsby

1258 words - 5 pages Lying has deadly effects on both the individual who lies and those around them. This concept is demonstrated in The Great Gatsby. Although Gatsby, Tom and Myrtle have different motives for being deceitful, they all lie in order to fulfill their desires and personal needs. Myrtle's desire to be wealthy is illustrated when she first meets Tom, dressed in his expensive clothing, as her attitude changes when she puts on the luxurious dress and when

Symbols and Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

539 words - 2 pages Symbolism in The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby is filled with symbols and symbolism, which try to convey Fitzgerald's ideas to the reader. The symbols are uniquely involved in the plot of the story, which makes their implications more real. There are three major symbols that serve very important significance in the symbolism of the novel. They are "the valley of the ashes," the reality that represents the corruption in the world, the

Infatuation in Lolita and the Great Gatsby

1100 words - 4 pages At first glance it seems hard to find any similarities between Lolita and The Great Gatsby. Finding similarity between two protagonists, Humbert Humbert and Jay Gatsby seems to be impossible task, but in reality there is a big factor connecting both of the characters. Humbert and Gatsby, both of them, met a girl in early years of their life and after that they were trying to attain these girls, the difference is minor- Jay Gatsby was trying to

Similar Essays

Great Expectations And Social Structure In The Victorian England

1305 words - 5 pages , the working classes were stricken with hard labor and gained low wages for their work. Dickens recognized the possessions and industry that is in every social class in Victorian England. Although the 2nd Industrial Revolution emphasizes the motif of different social classes through possessions and work in Great Expectations, but we should remember that social class does not exemplify how one makes the correct decisions on how to live their life

Social Class In Great Expectations Essay

2390 words - 10 pages Social class has been a central theme in many famous literary works, that it is hardy a shock for anyone to read about it. Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”, Scott FitzGerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”, and Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations” for instance are just some of the many novels centralizing social class. However, the strong, yet subtle implications that Charles Dickens introduces to his novels

Social Inequity In “The Motorcycle Diaries” And “The Great Gatsby”

1016 words - 5 pages Analyzing the different themes addressed in the books “The Motorcycle Diaries” written by Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, and “The Great Gatsby” written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald it is possible to find some topics in common, such as, the social inequity portrayed in both books. Although this social inequity is stronger and clearer in “The motorcycle Diaries”, it is also represented in some way in “The Great Gatsby” due to a marked

Social Mobility In The Great Gatsby

836 words - 3 pages This essay discusses the role of social mobility in The Great Gatsby. It argues that not all people can reach the highest social class, this is a class you must belong to from the beginning of life or marry in to. However, the characters are living the American dream which makes social mobility to the other social classes available. The essay addresses the American Dream, the difference in social class between the main characters and how some