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

How are the two books an exposure of two different ideals - The Great Gatsby - Heart of Darkness.

Extracts from this document...


How are the two books an exposure of two different ideals. One of the most significant ties that bonds these two books together is the gradual deconstruction and exposure of an ideal, or institution, that takes place in each book. For Fitzgerald's book the ideal under attack is the capitalist 'American dream' of the self made man. In Heart of Darkness, the issue Conrad deals with is colonialism. Both novels essentially dethrone their ideal through: an explanation of what exactly the ideal is with the narrators view attached, the presentation of characters that represent products of the ideal, and the final betrayal of the ideal against the believer. In The Great Gatsby we don' t learn about the true identity of Jay Gatsby until halfway through the book (chapter 6). As a result we do not find out what he is really searching for, when we symbolically see him arms outstretched towards a green light, until this point. In Heart of Darkness on the other hand, it's made clear from the start what exactly at the heart of the story. The result of this is to make Fitzgerald's a more subtle satire. The novel can be read as essentially a tragic love story, and indeed it is left to the reader to discover what exactly the ideal represents to Gatsby. ...read more.


Tom speaks to him in a totally superior manner, and plays cruel games flaunting his business in front of George. What is more, he feels totally at ease with conducting an affair with George's wife, this adds to the image of tom that believes the lower classes exist for his benefit. This promiscuous aspect to Tom's character leads onto another central flaw that is highlighted in The Great Gatsby, but not in Heart of Darkness, which is careless hedonism and indulgence. The wealthy in Fitzgerald's book seem interested only in "being rich together", and what this entails is mere indulgence as demonstrated by Tom's affair. A critical chapter in this that explores this is chapter two, when Tom takes Nick, Myrtle and a couple called the McKee's to a New York apartment. In this chapter we see Myrlte's shallow worship of material possessions. The apartment is "crowded to the doors" she blatantly is more concerned with showing off her wealth than keeping the apartment practical. Myrlte also changes her dress and 2with the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change". This remark seems to emphasise the superficiality of these people, only truly shallow people are what they wear. ...read more.


Similarly in Gatsby's story we see how the ideals on which America was founded have metamorphosed into something quite different. However, without the blatant exposition of the ideal that exists at the beginning of Conrad's novel, we only see the wider context at the end. Indeed the very last line is key: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past". Specifically this line is referring to Gatsby's lifelong quest to transcend his past that is ultimately shown to be futile. However Nick at the end of the book also mentions the "old island" that met the first settlers. By doing this he is linking Gatsby's fate to America as a whole. Fitzgerald is telling us that America (like colonialism) was founded on ideas of progress and equality. The America envisioned by its founders was a land made for visionary dreamers like Gatsby to thrive in. instead, people like Tom and Daisy Buchanan have recreated the faults and excess of the European Aristocracy in the new world. For all his wealth and greatness Gatsby could not become part of their world. Fitzgerald's America is emphatically not a place where anything is possible: just as America failed to transcend its European origins, Gatsby too cannot overcome the circumstances of his upbringing. The American dream by the end of the novel has deteriorated into the crass pursuit of wealth ...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. Peer reviewed

    What is so Great about Gatsby? The word great in the title gives the ...

    4 star(s)

    When Nick goes back to the time when he first moves to West Egg neither does he; it is very far into the story that we learn how Gatsby made his fortune and even then we only know very vaguely.

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

    She married her husband out of genuine love, and takes care of her children like a traditional parent should out of instinct. Daisy in contrast lacks that instinct, and exerts her time and energy on pretending to be living a satisfied life.

  1. How Has Fitzgerald Presented The Character Of Daisy In 'The Great Gatsby'?

    fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time'. He then says to Daisy 'I'm going to take better care of you from now on', showing that he knows he has mistreated her in the past.

  2. ‘He paid a high price for living too long with a single dream’ with ...

    It seems almost as though her covets "her house...her rich full life". Additionally he was "excited...that many men had already loved Daisy - it increased her value". This suggests Daisy is not viewed as a person by Gatsby; she is a commodity he strives to possess.

  1. "Show how the paring of two texts this year gave you an understanding on ...

    The authors convey the same theme using different surroundings, but with similar meanings, reinforcing my understanding of how authors present similar ideas in different ways. 'The Great Gatsby' is set in the Jazz Age of the 1920's in New York, however 'The Grapes of Wrath' is set a decade later during the depression of the 1930's.

  2. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on 24 September 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota ...

    Tom feels justified but Nick can't forgive him. Tom will never know that Daisy was driving the car. There is nothing between them now, no common ground and they part forever. Before he leaves West Egg Nick contemplates how strongly Gatsby followed his failed dream and thinks that we all

  1. “The Great Gatsby” is a deeply tragic novel; “A Handful of Dust” is a ...

    That light, so mysterious in the first chapter, becomes the symbol of Gatsby's dream, his love for Daisy and his attempt to make that love real. The Green light is one of the most important symbols in 'The Great Gatsby'.

  2. Compare the writers’ presentation of the women characters in the novels

    When she sings, she does it "in a husky whisper, bringing out a meaning in each words it had never has before and never would have again". There is a suggestion of an enchantment, linking back to the suggestions of her surname again.

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