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

A Comparison: Gatsby and Okonkwo

Extracts from this document...


World Lit 2 A Comparison: Gatsby and Okonkwo 1516 words In the novels, The Great Gatsby and Things Fall Apart, the two protagonists share many similarities in their character, even as the novels differ. Parallels can be drawn from many of their characteristics and many of the decisions they make throughout their respective stories. They are both made to be intentionally flawed by the authors Fitzgerald and Achebe but this ads conflict to the novels, making them more compelling stories. There are many similarities between the two characters, Gatsby and Okonkwo that are clearly exposed in comparison. Their likeness can be seen in both the creation of their ideal men, their ambition, and their tragic downfalls. Both Okonkwo and James Gatsby created their own idea of a man because they wanted to escape or differentiate themselves from their past. They then attempted to live within these guidelines, and spent their lives living these roles. Both characters, Okonkwo and Gatsby, have the same motivation for creating these men. Both men felt they were destined to be greater than the surroundings they were born into. ...read more.


This part of the story explains the toil Okonkwo went through, having to borrow from fellow yam harvesters because he had the setback of being the son of an Agbala. Here, Achebe describes Okonkwo's work ethic "Share cropping was a very slow way of building up a barn of one's own. After all the toil one only got a third of the harvest. But for a young man whose father had no yams, there was no other way." Pg 22. This passage shows the essence of Okonkwo's work ethic as it shows how hard he had to work to achieve his goal. Gatsby was very similar in that he was not born into wealth and fame and therefore had to work at it, which is just like what Okonkwo had to do. Fitzgerald briefly explores Gatsby's journey to wealth and fame, much of Gatsby's work ethic can be seen in this quote as Fitzgerald writes "For over a year he had been beating his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam digger and a salmon fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed. ...read more.


Okonkwo, due to what his self-creation was, acted out by killing a messenger, an action with which his clan did not agree. Achebe sums up what happened to Okonkwo in the quote "Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew Umuofia would not go to war." Pg. 205 These two sentences occur just after Okonkwo kills the white man's messenger. At this point Okonkwo realized what would happen to him, so he ended up taking his own life. Both Gatsby and Okonkwo's false perceptions, perhaps their greatest flaws, were what lead them to their deaths. In conclusion, both authors use these two characters as examples of what not to do to lead a fulfilling life. Beyond both characters' successes, they did not really enjoy life, as both of their lives were a struggle to achieve their goals. Once these goals were achieved, they both fell from grace in a tragic manner. The main reason their lives were so sad was that they were playing roles they cast themselves in for their entire lives. Playing a role for several decades would make even the strongest miserable. What seems to be the point of both authors portrayed by these characters is that one must choose self-knowledge over self-absorption, to be yourself and not something else. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages 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 International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Great Gatsby Ending Analysis

    This shatters Gatsby's dream, and portrays the American Dream to be a lie, one with materialism and greed and corruption. Dreams are a world where everything is perfect; reality isn't. The fractured syntax in the passage plays a role in portraying how Gatsby's dream was abruptly shattered and turned into reality.

  2. What makes Gatsby great?

    unaffected scorn", has a respectable purpose in life and has been working determinedly to attain it. Despite Gatsby's genuine love for Daisy and his admirable capability for hope and determination to achieve it, it evident that he is still corrupt with a mysterious criminal background.

  1. A commentary on "THE GREAT GATSBY" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    So a flexible language is necessary in order to get a clear picture across to the reader. A reader is better able to judge a book, its characters, the situations and the relationships between characters, at the end of the book when the reader has clearly understood the text.

  2. Things Fall Apart Novel Analysis

    building incident a: Years after, Ikemefuna has become a part of Okonkwo's clan. He's become best friends with Nwoye, his son, and helps with the crops. Locusts invade the town and the locusts are everywhere. To get rid of these locusts, Ikemefuna must be sacrificed.

  1. Great Gatsby Summary

    * Myrtle changes clothes, thus changes status from low to high o As she drinks, she becomes more like Tom * Nick has suspected Tom was capable of violence, incident w/ Myrtle has proven it o Tom could be opposed to change, 1920's women became more liberal/vocal o Foreshadows other

  2. Interpreting Meanings and Identifying Facts In "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe

    and many guests are invited over for the feast, if the host family is rich. The women also wash and decorate their huts by painting many colourful patterns on them. 2) Okonkwo's wife made a comment about guns that never shoot, and then Okonkwo is so irritated that he shoots at Ekwefi.

  1. Hersenschimmen/Gewiste Sporen comparison

    Ze is gewoon een belangrijk moment van al 3 jaar waardoor ze zelfs is gestopt met werken. Ook is ze door een flashback zo de weg kwijt is dat ze denkt dat ze met haar vader gesproken heeft, terwijl die al jaren dood is.

  2. History research - Early Australian bushrangers. English writing -my region and favourite authors.

    Explorers who worked with Aboriginal guides as part of their expeditions included Major Mitchell, who relied on the services of the Bathurst man known to the party as 'John Piper' to cross the Great Dividing Range. Another well-known explorer was Edward John Eyre (1815-1901)

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