• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do the two main characters in your comparison novels compare? (The Great Gatsby and The Secret History)

Extracts from this document...


How do the two main characters in your comparison novels compare? (The Great Gatsby and The Secret History) In 'The Great Gatsby', by F. Scott Fitzgerald, many compelling issues are conveyed through the attributes and actions of the wide range of primary and secondary characters - however the most notable, as suggested by the book's title, is arguably Jay Gatsby himself. He appears to be the epitome of enigma and strongly reflects the novel's hedonistic social influences. Similarly, Donna Tartt illustrates similar profound issues using a similar technique with the portrayal of her characters in 'The Secret History', of which Henry Winter is a main focus of the storyline, much like Gatsby. Firstly, one main aspect of both Henry and Gatsby appears to be their mysterious and unusual natures. A distinct gap between Gatsby and his peers is evident within the first party of the novel, as Jordan Baker states 'He told me once he was an Oxford man... ...However, I don't believe it.' This suggests how mistrusting even Gatsby's neighbours feel towards him, which is ironic taking into account that he has invited her into his own home. ...read more.


The pink suit reinforces his riches and hedonistic lifestyle, which is lacking evidence in Henry's 'old-fashioned' appearance, who can only be seen among simple items such as books and his umbrella, though even this is described as a 'rare sight in Hampden' which further creates his sense of mystery. One notable and comparable aspect is that Gatsby is also described by Nick as an 'elegant young rough-neck', an oxymoron which begins to shed light on his true, simpler background. This sense of history is almost immediately revealed by Bunny in Henry's case, he is from a surprisingly average location - Missouri. Furthermore, although Julian Morrow may not be considered a main character in The Secret History, it may be considered that he makes a better direct comparison to Gatsby. He is described as 'ageless' and 'sly as a child', which creates a similar atmosphere in creating such a strong and flawless presence, although the word 'sly' suggests a slightly more sinister undertone to his personality; much like Gatsby being a 'rough-neck'. He appears to hold a similar fa�ade when communicating with Richard, 'You have a wonderful name... ...read more.


In a tall glass... ...That's what I want.' Whilst this adheres to his usual rigidity, he appears to be much more commanding and daunting - very specific to details and succinct, rather than Gatsby's outbursts of emotion which appear to be the direct cause of his shortcomings. To conclude, both characters carry a sense of mystery, however Gatsby's portrayal seems to be much more positive both physically and intangibly throughout most of the novel. Although this is true, this 'perfect' atmosphere around him is possibly an attack by Fitzgerald on the impossibility of a hedonistic lifestyle as the character appears so immaculate it is fictitious. When he does finally start to reveal part of his true nature in the form of a stubborn attitude, it may be much more shocking to the reader than Henry's forceful yet constant demeanour, as it is abrupt and unexpected which is reflective of Fitzgerald's style - very differing to Tartt's gradual transformations seen in The Secret History. There is a definite lack of emotion seen in Henry in contrast with Gatsby's sudden bursts of it, which shows a distinct difference in personality. Furthermore, a sense of sophistication which is displayed in Gatsby through his calculated behaviour and clothing seems to be lacking in Henry - though he makes up for it with linguistic and intellectual genius. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    On the whole, Alm�sy is not at all what the other characters think he appears to be. Alm�sy's manner is knowledgeable and reflective. His entire career has consisted of searching for ancient cities and mapping empty land. He thus links the past to the present, writing in the margins of

  2. Chance, Accident and Coincidence in The Mayor of Casterbridge

    of youth's zest, he has to step back and give way to Farfrae who possess these qualities to give the village a lift in industry. Furthermore, Henchard losses nearly all of his possessions to Farfrae - his house, the mayoralty, hay and corn business, Lucetta and even Elizabeth-Jane.

  1. Free essay

    Discuss the way in which the female characters are presented in the Great Gatsby

    This is very suggestive of what all these young women wanted during this age and the rich society woman (Daisy) is no different from the rest. Fitzgerald is implying the shallowness of their desires and dreams, as they only live for the moment.

  2. Control, submission and rebellion in the novels The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, Memoirs ...

    Today parts of the world experience famine just like in the districts. Also, the rich people of our time enjoy more than they need which results to one of the deadly sins, gluttony. Although, unlike in Panem the rich people do not fully contribute into why countries like Africa face famine.

  1. Discuss the importance of setting in The Great Gatsby, The Kite Runner and O ...

    This draws an elliptical effect which presents the two areas as different places which seem far away from each other, whereas in reality they are very close. This symbolises the de facto segregation between rich and poor but also reflects the major theme of illusion vs.

  2. Explore Fitzgeralds Presentation of love in The Great Gatsby, making connections to E.L. Doctrows ...

    It can be seen that Gatsby has a drive to transcend the world as it is, rather than to love Daisy with everything he has got and this is shown with respect to his first meeting with Daisy in the novel.

  1. Analysis of Peter Pan and The Wonderful Wizard of OZ

    Children are free. They can do what they want. CHARACTERISATION: Main characters 1. Peter Pan: He is a magical boy that he doesn´t want grow up. He want be child always. He can fly. It is a 13 year old, blonde hair, brown and green eyes, but in the other books, his eyes are blue.

  2. Explore the function of the narrator in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

    During the 1920?s, there was a period of what was known as prohibition, where all alcohol was banned, and yet people are often described drinking throughout The Great Gatsby. This could be a condemnation of upper class society, as it suggests they are just as immoral, if not more so, than the lower classes.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work