Comparing Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The Roaring Twenties bring to mind a generation of endless partying, which reflected very little of the morals of the generations preceding it. The world, for that generation, was fast-paced and thoroughly material, crowded with bizarre and colorful characters like David Belasco and Arnold Rothstein. Inspired by this era's "spiritually exhausted people" (Brians), F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock address many of the same themes in attempting to restore the "lost generation." In developing these themes, both authors utilize weather, the concept of illusion versus reality and the direction of …show more content…

The main difference between Gatsby and Prufrock's illusions is that Prufrock recognizes that a fog is obscuring his vision and he accepts that, but Gatsby thinks that the past that he sees through the mist is reality for him.

Consequently, both Gatsby and J. Alfred have problems confronting reality. As each story begins, both are satisfied to avoid reality all together. J. Alfred wishes to spend his evening, "like a patient etherized upon a table" (Eliot 708), rather than to tell his female companion how he feels. In Gatsby's youth, he is also content that, "...these reveries...were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality" (Fitzgerald 105). Gatsby therefore prefers the imaginary world over the real one. The two men are also quite uncomfortable with what their realities hold for them. J. Alfred's anxious mind is revealed when he questions, "Should I...have the strength to force the moment to its crisis" (711). This man is very troubled over what he might lose. Similarly, Gatsby is quite overwhelmed with how his dream has progressed when it is noted, "...the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby's face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness" (101). Gatsby is almost frightened by the chain of events he has set forth. In denial, both men use the excuse of time to avoid life's confrontations. J.

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