Common Themes in A Doll’s House and Great Gatsby. Remember this is not a comparison essay! But you must be able to discuss the two texts with reference to the question.
Criteria… HOLEE MOLEEEEEEEE I only have 1.5 hours to write this… how am I supposed to fit it all in….. (well technically you have an hour… because you MUST plan) Remember that you must show: • Knowledge and understanding about the text • Knowledge and understanding about the context of the text There are three sides to this: • What you learn about the context of the time? • How your understanding changed once you learnt about the context? • How your own context affects your interpretation.
Alienation/ Isolation What approaches could you take to this question: • Krogstaad Alienated because of his past mistakes. Context Link? The constraints of Victorian Society. • Nora Isolated within the confines of her house/ Role she plays. • Jay Gatsby lives within his society, appears to be the centre of it but is on the outskirts. Context Link? Materialism, reflects the values and morals of 1920s America/ sacrifices. Gatsby was based on one side of Fitzgerald's personality. Idolised the rich and strived to become one of them. Questioning whether or not he could be one of them? Is their world too false? A: Knowledge of Works and their Context. B: Response to the question C: Analysis What about Nick?
Deception Nora: Plays the role society expects her (socially constructed femininity) her personality has been largely constructed by others. She has been a doll and object for them to play with. Context link? This relationship is one that would have reflected many other relationships in society at the time. Although Ibsen argues that this was never a feminist play we can see that there are links to the changing roles of women. GG: Most of the characters hide behind disguises – Gatsby is the most important character who uses disguise to hide his true identity. - This disguise allows him to pursue his dream with Daisy. Context Link – American Dream (Gatsby’s version) A: Knowledge of Works and their Context. B: Response to the question C: Analysis
Setting A: Knowledge of Works and their Context. B: Response to the question C: Analysis Era: Time & Place GG: 1920s America East Coast ADH: 19th Century Norway Specific set/tings GG: Great Gatsby is set in an altered version of Long Island and Manhattan in 1920s America. East and West Egg, Valley of Ashes represent the different elements of the American lifestyle. The valley of the ashes is a stretch of wasteland which sits between the other sites and connects them. East Egg is filled with wealthy upper classes who inherited their money. West Egg host ‘new money’ – people who have earned their money. Context : The valley illustrates that the excess of wealth can’t be achieved without exploiting another part of society. That Fitzgerald believed that the American Dream had turned into the pursuit of Wealth and is making a commentary the demise of social values.
Setting A: Knowledge of Works and their Context. B: Response to the question C: Analysis Era: Time & Place GG: 1920s America East Coast ADH: 19th Century Norway Specific set/tings ADH: The actual space itself is used to illustrate Nora’s journey to independence. The focus is in the living room, but there is a way out into the hall and two entrances to Helmer’s study. Nora never enters through either of Helmer’s doors, and others come and go freely in the hall. Context link?That women’s roles are in the house, that she doesn’t have any freedom, that she is confined, that she is treated differently. That men can move freely.
It could be argued that both these texts are social commentaries.. To what extent is that true? Fitzgerald – Comments on The nature of the American Dream and how it has been replaced by consumerism Morality of the wealthy Influence of Alcohol Automobile and the Mechanisation on Society – the idea that everything is moving towards a rapid speed towards nothing. Ibsen – his interest lay not in specific political or social changes but in the revolution of the spirit of man. While writing A Doll’s House he made the following notes; “ There are two types of Moral laws, two types of conscience, one for men and one for women. They don’t’ understand each other; but in practical life women is judged by masculine law, as though she weren’t a women but a man…/ A women cannot be herself in modern society. “ A: Knowledge of Works and their Context. B: Response to the question C: Analysis
Interpretation What is the most significant theme? Why? How? And What does that show us about the context that it was written and the context that we read it in? There is no one single answer to what the play is about. Great Gatsby could be about The American Dream or it could be About Love. A Doll’s House could be about freedom from society OR it could be about Women’s rights. A: Knowledge of Works and their Context. B: Response to the question C: Analysis
Values - Social and Moral GG: The characters live aimless lives that revolve around pleasing themselves and acquiring new possessions. Suggestion that consumerism has replaced religion. There has been great Moral decay in Great Gatsby. The characters rely on things other than religion to guide their actions. Context Link: Fitzgerald is commenting on the fact that the decadence of the Jazz Age is immoral and of no worth. ADH: We learn about a variety of different views from the characters about morality. But essentially we learn that societies expectations causes people to make immoral decisions. (Context Link? Societies affect on the individual. Could Ibsen be criticizing the strict social codes of Norwegian Society) A: Knowledge of Works and their Context. B: Response to the question C: Analysis
Other Pairings • Male roles • Female roles • Hopes and Dreams • Timelessness (Do the messages still apply?) • Minor characters • Appearances and Reality • Love and Relationships • Courage • Structure • Conflict (Internal and External) • Wealth and Money • Corruption • Materialism • Duty and Sacrifice • Freedom • Society and the Individual • Power • Truth • Idealism • Ambition • Marriage • Symbols/ Motifs