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

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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.

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