Elizabeth Barrett Browning F Scott Fitzgerald

The study and comparison of ‘The Great Gatsby’ (TGG), 1926, by F. Scott FitzGerald and ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese’ (SP), Victorian era, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning reveals to the reader the effect of author contexts on the themes inherent in the work. This is perceived through universal concerns inherent in the texts such as love, religion, status and gender roles.

Fitzgerald lived a turbulent life. Before he wrote The Great Gatsby FitzGerald’s life was full of failure, he failed university and though he never saw active service in the war he had a pathological fear of dying.   Despite the patriarchal society he was often poor. FitzGerald attempted to marry for love and   it was due to this lack of affluence that he lost the woman he was interested in. It was only after his first novel was published that Zelda Sayre consented to marry him. Due to this FitzGerald believed that love could only come from having money. The great Gatsby was written post WW1 in a society that was still reeling from the atrocities of the conflict. There was a sharp decline in religion and commercialism became the new faith amongst the rich. With Zelda FitzGerald became a symbol of the Jazz age.

Browning lived in an altogether more innocent age. Her time was highly religious, more heavily patriarchal, and very traditional and did not know the fear and ravages of war. Browning spent the majority of her life cut off from the rest of society due to a debilitating condition which rendered her near incapable of enduring the strain of everyday life. On top of this she had an enormously controlling father who forbade his children from marrying. Due to this, throughout her childhood, Browning never contemplated loving another human. It wasn’t until later in her life when she came into contact with Robert Browning that she began to lust after the freedom to love whomever she wanted. Platonic love was what she wanted and it was what she received.  

A theme which both works are centred...