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There are many similarities and even more differences in the character Jay Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Cottard, from The Plague by Albert Camus.

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Introduction

Similarities and differences between Jay Gatsby and Cottard There are many similarities and even more differences in the character Jay Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Cottard, from The Plague by Albert Camus. Fitzgerald, when he wrote The Great Gatsby, he based it off of much of his own life, but also on how the American Dream had been skewed by the want for money. Albert Camus, in writing The Plague, created Cottard to add a slight twist of existentialism into the novel. Also, when first reading about Cottard, the reader is given some details of his character. "But Cottard was a silent, secretive man, with something about him that made Grand think of a wild boar. His bedroom, meals at a cheap restaurant, some rather mysterious comings and goings-these were the sum of Cottard's days," (Camus 53). The similarities between the characters will be discussed first, then the differences, and finally, a cultural viewpoint of American literature versus French literature. ...read more.

Middle

While Gatsby already had a huge mysterious, but almost prestigious reputation, Cottard was constantly trying to get 'friends' so that they could testify for him in his favor, should a need arise. Since these two characters have such vague similarities, they most certainly have much narrower differences. The greatest difference would be each characters' sets of moral standards. Gatsby chooses a criminal path so that he could possibly woo his love, Daisy, into leaving her current husband and returning to Gatsby. Also, while Gatsby has all this money, he is constantly throwing parties for the benefit of others, as well as providing all of them with food, drinks, and anything else they may need (Fitzgerald). In contrast, Cottard does everything to either gain favors for himself, or to evade getting caught by the authorities. Also, towards the end of both novels, Gatsby, in a sense, dies for the person he loves, while Cottard tries to kill as many people as he can since the plague is gone. ...read more.

Conclusion

Now, when we look at both books overall, Fitzgerald was trying to show the American people what they had done, and basically trying to bring awareness to the situation, whereas Camus, in writing The Plague simply meant it to be representative of the French mindset at the time which was very existentialist due to the French surrender during World War II. So, in conclusion, though there are multiple similarities in the character of Jay Gatsby and Cottard, the differences are far greater, and even the similarities are circumstantial. Jay Gatsby, while being a criminal, tried his best to help people, and even died for his love, while Cottard, also a criminal, lived for himself, and wanted everyone to be at his level in life, not ever succeeding. Finally, both authors wrote their novels in their respective countries, each for a different purpose, yet each were written around the same time period. This just shows how different culture is from country to country, and how much the current circumstances influence culture. ...read more.

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