The Great Gatsby and Washington Square

Both The Great Gatsby and Washington Square are very much novels of their time, giving great detail about social attitudes in general and male and female roles in society in particular. They are also books that are concerned with image, illusion, and relationships.

Consider the various pairings in each book:

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The Great Gatsby:

Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby Daisy Buchanan and Tom Buchanan.

Myrtle Wilson and George Wilson Myrtle Wilson and Tom Buchanan.

Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker Nick Carraway and Daisy Buchanan.

Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway Nick Carraway and Tom Buchanan.

Jordan Baker and Daisy Buchanan.

Washington Square:

Catherine Sloper and Morris Townsend Catherine Sloper and her father, Dr. Austin Sloper.

Catherine Sloper and her aunt, Lavinia Penniman.

Lavinia Penniman and Morris Townsend.

Note that not all the pairings listed above are romantic relationships. Washington Square also focuses on family relationships as well as romantic ones, while The Great Gatsby also examines friendship.

In a well-developed essay of 4 to 6 pages (double-spaced), examine at least one pairing from each book, exploring the dynamic of expectation present (i.e., what does each person in the relationship want from the other? Expect from the other?).

Then compare the authors’ styles with each other. Who seems more successful in bringing their characters to life – Fitzgerald or James? How?

Do not just present unsupported opinions. Use examples and quotes from the books to illustrate and defend your point of view.

This project will serve in place of a midterm exam. We will discuss the ideas that you will explore in this paper in class as we discuss Washington Square, and The Great Gatsby, so you will have some basic material to draw upon for your writing.

Please note that any quoted material must have MLA citations and the books should be listed on the works cited page at the end of the essay.

Since you will have considerable time to work with the material, do your best to present thoughtful explorations of the concepts required. This is not a book or film review expressing your likes and dislikes but an examination of how the authors handle characterization. For more information on The Great Gatsby and Washington Square check on this:

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