Gatsby and Barrett-Browning Sonnets Comparison

English Essay “Gatsby & Sonnets”

“Texts from different times can vary in their context but in many ways share parallels in regards to themes such as spirituality, aspirations; and identity.”
Discuss and analyse this in regard to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets from the Portugese.”

“The Great Gatsby” was written in America 1920’s and the Elizabeth Barrett Browning sonnets were written in Britain 1840’s but they share similar parallels in regard to their themes. The two texts have different contexts, as they were written so far apart yet there are common themes.
In “Gatsby” the intricate love story between the characters plays off against the setting of America 1920. The different classes in society are portrayed; the working class, upper class and middle class. All of these classes are aspiring to, or think they have attained, the American Dream. The characters lack religion and spirituality, as this time in America was neither of these, unlike Barrett-Browning’s time. This lack of religion and spirituality is highlighted through the way they cheat on their partners. During this time there was also wealth being found through crime. The character or Meyer Wolfshiem is part of organised crime having “fixed the World’s Series back in 1919” (p.73). Wealth is something in this time that people aspired to, because they felt that with wealth came status and happiness. Nick moves to West Egg to find wealth. Although Gatsby has already attained wealth here he is still searching for happiness.

The Sonnets from the Portugese were written in the early 1800’s during time when there was poverty in society. This period was highly religious and traditional. Barrett-Browning has been sheltered away by her father and is excited about finally seeing the world.
Although the texts were written at different times both composers write about a patriarchal (male dominated) society. The female characters are rarely treated well...