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

“The Great Gatsby” is a deeply tragic novel; “A Handful of Dust” is a light-hearted, farcical comedy.” To what extent do you agree with this evaluation of the genre and style of the two novels?

Extracts from this document...


"The Great Gatsby" is a deeply tragic novel; "A Handful of Dust" is a light-hearted, farcical comedy." To what extent do you agree with this evaluation of the genre and style of the two novels? 'The Great Gatsby', written by F Scott Fitzgerald, is undoubtedly a deeply tragic novel. There are many tragic elements about it, many of which I shall be looking at in greater detail. The title character and protagonist in the novel is Jay Gatsby, a mysterious and fabulously wealthy man living in a gothic mansion in West Egg. Gatsby does not appear a speaking role until chapter three of the novel. Fitzgerald initially presents Gatsby as the aloof, enigmatic host of the unbelievably wealthy parties thrown every week at his mansion. He appears surrounded by spectacular luxury, courted by powerful men and beautiful women. Yet he is flawed. Many aspects of Gatsby's world are intriguing because they are slightly amiss - for instance, he seems to throw parties at which he knows none of his guests. His accent seems affected and his habit of calling people "old sport" is hard to place. One of his guests is surprised to find that his books are real, and not just empty covers. ...read more.


Nick is the only character at all interested in Gatsby after his death. At the funeral "nobody came" until Owl-Eyes arrives. Gatsby experiences loneliness, even in death. He has truly become a tragic, piteous character, and has reached his tragic end. * After Gatsby's funeral, Nick ends his relationship with Jordan and moves back to Minnesota to escape the disgust he feels for the people surrounding Gatsby's life. Nick reflects that just as Gatsby's dream of Daisy was corrupted by money and dishonesty, the American dream of happiness has disintegrated into the pursuit of wealth. Though Gatsby's power to transform his dreams into reality is what makes him "great", Nick reflects that the era of dreaming - both Gatsby's dream and the American dream - is over, thus making Gatsby's end a tragic end. I believe that the novel "A Handful Of Dust", written by Evelyn Waugh, has elements of comedy and farce, but can also been seen, like "The Great Gatsby", as a tragedy. The action developed in the novel closely resembles the action of classical greek tragedy. There is the rising action: Brenda's growing disaffection for her husband; the climax, the accidental death of John Andrew and Brenda's subsequent desertion of Tony, Tony's voyage to South America, and finally, the catastrophe with Tony ending up in the hands on Mr Todd. ...read more.


In "The Great Gatsby", Myrtle Wilson accidentally gets run over, an act of fate which causes Gatsby to lose his life. Both Gatsby and Tony come to a tragic end which they do not deserve. There is a significance in Tony's ending; he has ultimately gone from one imprisonment to another - from Hetton to South America. This ending is both tragic and farcical: it is tragic as Tony's traditional values have finally decayed, and it is farcical because Mr Todd makes Tony read him Dickens aloud. This is nonsensical, but at the same time, absurdly funny. Referring back to the question, I do agree with the evaluation that "The Great Gatsby" is a deeply tragic novel, but disagree that "A Handful of Dust" is a light-hearted, farcical comedy. "A Handful Of Dust" does have an underlining element of farce to it, however, the tragic elements exceed the farcical elements. Like Gatsby in "The Great Gatsby", Tony Last is a victim; a victim of society, a victim of adultery and most significantly, a victim of himself. He has a tragic flaw, and readers can sympathise with him. He reaches a tragic end which he does not, by any means, deserve. From all of these points, I would conclude that "A Handful of Dust", like "The Great Gatsby" is a deeply tragic novel. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald 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 GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Beneath the Surface Glitter, The Great Gatsby is a Profoundly Pessimistic Novel. Do You ...

    4 star(s)

    I've gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read this book 'The Rise of the Colored Empires' by this man Goddard?" "It's up to us who are the dominant race to watch out or these other races will have control of things."

  2. Peer reviewed

    Symbolism in The Great Gatsby.

    5 star(s)

    This lack of concrete significance contributes to the unsettling nature of the image. Thus, the eyes also come to represent the essential meaninglessness of the world and the arbitrariness of the mental process by which people invest objects with meaning.

  1. The Great Gatsby As A Tragedy

    Americans and Gatsby made the tragic mistake of instilling ideas into their dreams that were nonexistent. Dreams do not often become absolute reality. Contentment and happiness are often not at all associated with wealth and luxury. The American dream to become prosperous and happy can be compared to Gatsby's dream to have Daisy's love, admiration and respect.

  2. Appearances Can Be Deceiving - The Great Gatsby.

    Gatsby's to Nick: " 'He wants to know,' continued Jordan, 'if you'll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over.'.... 'He wants her to see his house, ... And your house is right next door' " (Fitzgerald 80).

  1. "The Great Gatsby"- Chapter 1 Analysis - Comment on the style of characterisation that ...

    This shows how what she says doesn't really matter, as it gives off this sexy vibe to her listeners. She has the power to manipulate and seduce men and uses it. She is very flirtatious and has a certain control over men.

  2. Nick says of Gatsby,” I disapproved of him from beginning to end”, and also ...

    The images are deeply unpleasant. Nick doesn't seem to think very highly of Myrtle: 'She smiled slowly and, walking through her husband as if he were a ghost, shook hands with Tom, looking him flush in the eye'. Nick is also aware of Myrtle's falseness and her longing for the dream.

  1. Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.

    Rise from bed 6.00 AM Dumbbell exercise & wall-scaling 6.15 - 6.30 AM Study electricity, etc 7.15 - 8.15 AM Work 8.30 AM - 4.30 PM Baseball & sports 4.30 - 5.00 PM Practise elocution, poise & how to attain it 5.00 - 6.00 PM Study needed inventions 7.00 - 9.00 PM Gatsby's General Resolves (P.164)

  2. "What qualities of Daisy from the 'Great Gatsby' and Nora from 'A Dolls House' ...

    To escape the monotony, she had an affair with Gatsby to offer excitement in her life, whilst still enjoying the wealth and status with Tom. She treated both men like her toys, to entertain herself. The world is Daisy's playground, where she makes the rules, and whatever disasters she causes,

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