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IB English Oral

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Introduction The works of Zora Neal Hurston in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and of F Scott Fitzgerald in "The Great Gatsby" may appear to be very distinct. Yet the characterization that both authors place upon their female leads makes the novels appear similar in a deeper aspect. In "Their Eyes Were Watching God", Zora Neal Hurston presents the reader with Janie a strong round and dynamic protagonist. In "The Great Gatsby", F Scott Fitzgerald introduces us to Daisy a static and flat main character who is essential to the plot of the novel. Janie is an African American woman living in the South, who grew up during times racism was present and when females were oppressed and subjugated by men, and life for African Americans was very hard and difficult. Daisy is an upper class, east coast, socialite, who grows up in a time of change marked by the devastating traces that the Great War left behind, and surrounded by a world of sinful passions, immorality, jealousy, and ambition. As we examine both characters we discover that though they have many differences they are very much alike. Similarities Aspirations Samuel Johnson once said "Some desire is necessary to keep life in motion". Janie and Daisy both had dreams and aspirations which became at a climatic point the reasons for their being. ...read more.


He offers Daisy true love and fortune, along with a fresh start. Tea cake is to Janie, what Gatsby is for Daisy. He gives Janie hope and helps her in her path of self discovery. He unlike her other husbands treats her as his equal and truly appreciates not only her physical beauty but her internal beauty and teaches her how to appreciate the true beauty of life. Role of Women in Society It is also necessary for me to mention that both women had similar roles in society. Though they were form different social classes, races and eras, they both lacked a strong voice and figure in society as their rights were often overlooked and not taking into full consideration. They lacked equal status and opportunities to men and lived their lives under rigorous and strict patterns that affected the development of their individual voice, which is clearly reflected in both Janie and Daisy. At the time the stories were written at there were no rights for women and they had no institution that supported their cause. Differences Strength and Will Though the women may be similar in many aspects they are also very different in others. Janie is a strong woman. She has a set determination and tenacity to reach her dreams and overcome the obstacles in her way. ...read more.


Change One of the biggest differences that these characters have is the change that they go through throughout their novels. By definition Janie is a dynamic character, which means that she changes as a result of conflicts and revelations. She is also a round character who is multi dimensional and has sufficient depth to be understood. Janie goes through a transformation as she embarks on a journey of self discovery and comes to the conclusion that at the end it all comes down to conserving the beautiful memories in ones life. At the end of "The Great Gatsby" Daisy returns to right where she started, alone and rich but unhappy and miserable. She and Tom make and Nick states that people like them are meant to be together. By definition she would be described as a static character for she remains true to her initial introduction throughout the story. Janie is able to confront her aggressors as she stripped Joe in front of others and gain liberation to a certain extent from that experience, unfortunately Daisy does not. Conclusion Zora Neal Hurston and F. Scott Fitzgerald managed to create different yet similar female characters that embrace life and its ups and downs. The authors manage to present the reader with controversial characters that in one way or another break set standards. Janie and Daisy though very different, manage to mirror each other in deep aspects which are visible only to the critical eye. ...read more.

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