The Great Gatsby and The Wasteland Essay

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The Great Gatsby and The Wasteland

Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby and Elliot’s The Wasteland are two stories that similarly express the modernist post-war disillusionment. Both stories comment pessimistically on the direction that our world is moving in from the post-war modernist perspective. Both men looked past the roaring twenties, and realized that this time period was actually a moral wasteland. The final paragraphs of The Great Gatsby sum up their mutual lack of faith in American culture to improve. Fitzgerald uses a number of both direct and indirect ways to comment on what has happened to America. The green light is a recurring symbol in this book that has many deep meanings. Beginning in the first chapter, when Nick compares
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It shows that justifying this war is an act of futility. Elliot also presents a theme of regeneration and fertility, which symbolizes a longing for the past. In the opening of The Wasteland, April is shown as a time of revival after the bleak winter. Regeneration is portrayed as painful, because the new spring can’t measure up to the springs of the past. This is portrayed by Marie’s experiences from the past, which become painful when she considers that the time she lives in now is one of great political and cultural consequences. The final paragraph of The Great Gatsby and the final line in particular, effectively represent the views of Elliot and Fitzgerald. The final line, “so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” embodies the essence of both stories. It expresses a lack of confidence in our society’s current condition, and a longing for the simpler times of the past. The final page offers much of Fitzgerald’s perspective, and it is wonderfully summed up in the final sentence of the book. Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes- a fresh, green breast of the new

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