Great Gatsby & Scarlet Letter Essay

690 Words Sep 30th, 1999 3 Pages
Jason Bello
AP English
March 22, 2000

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald are two novels, which address similar themes with completely opposite resolves. The authors use their main characters, Hester, Dimmesdale, Gatsby, and Daisy, in their respective works to present these themes. The action in both novels revolves around unfaithfulness, its effects on the characters, and the results of committing adultery, which prove to be antipode from one novel to the other. These antitheses can be found by a look at the different roles of adultery in the novels. One major theme found in both novels and addressed in different ways is adultery. Unfaithfulness is ever present in The Great
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Hester and Dimmesdale sinned by having sex, Hester was married and Dimmesdale was a reverend. This act of impurity was turned to a positive with the birth of Pearl, their personal spiritual growth, and their maturity. On the contrary, the love that Daisy and Gatsby had before their separation was pure. They were in love for all the right reasons, and stayed in touch while Jay entered the army. However, Daisy then fell in love with money and the man who brought it, Tom. When Gatsby returned, he tried to make their love work again, but his efforts were made through deceit, and illegal activities. These attempts to win Daisy through a false persona and money made Daisy's love a possession, which could be won or even bought, and subsequently it became impure. These contradictions and paradox continue through the novel into the endings.
The differing attitudes towards unfaithfulness in the novels result in differing conclusions for the characters. Although Hester and Dimmesdale do not consummate their relationship, their tribulations are not for naught. Both become better, more understanding, people because of their experiences. There is also the birth of Pearl to validate their affair. Daisy and Gatsby never end up together either. However, neither one is the better as a result of them having eloped. Gatsby dies a horrible death, but this is still