Comparitive Essay- Great Gatsby & Barrett Browning

Analyse how ‘the Great Gatsby’ and Browning’s poetry imaginatively portray individuals who challenge the established values of their time.

As moments progress into new epochs, morals and values become a reflection of the changing societies in which they are created. The values of love and mortality, adapt in a parallel manner alongside the evolution from the Victorian Era to the Jazz Age through a range of contextual experiences, revealing their meaning in time by comparison. These principal ideals of love and morality are challenged by distinct imaginative characters in the 1850’s poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the 1925 novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is through the analysis of the protagonists and their status as societal ‘outcasts’ that this challenge is presented in their differing textual and contextual forms, through a range of poetic and literary devices.

Love in both eras is seen as necessary; yet not always possible due to an overpowering desire for social advancement. The context of the Victorian Era, was that a higher social status were the crux of aspirations for men, while women were limited to a stereotype of belonging to a domestic sphere. Barrett Browning, in the very act of writing love poetry to her lover, defied these social expectations, her languish in this socially unacceptable act is amplified in the irony of the “silence of her womanhood” as she broke through the masculine dominated genre - creating a hybrid gender as the protagonist of the poems. Through her poetry, Barrett Browning is able to give a positive physicality to love by personifying it through many hyperbolic metaphors, likening it to a saving “torch…while the winds are rough” (sonnet 13) that is needed for her self-contentment. As the poems continue in a chronicle manner, she evolves the tone’s modality - through a development in her mediation of love - fluctuating from doubt to euphoria as she becomes confident in her partner’s mutual...