Elizabeth Barret Browning and the Great Gatsby

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By comparing the differing attitudes of composers toward the same issues one can see how their view is affected by their context. This is evident in exploring the perspectives on love and death, time and religion presented in selected sonnets from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets of the Portuguese” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1926 American novel, The Great Gatsby. The different attitudes of the composers are portrayed in the way the deal with the same themes and issues that surrounded their eras, but in their own environments. Death is an inevitable part of life, death should not cause us to live in fear, but rather to live our lives in the very best way that we can. This is shown within Barrett Browning’s first sonnet as she ponders on Theocritus, who sings about love as Elizabeth Barrett Browning considers her own hopeless and worthless existence. The poem mentions in abundance of mortality in the societal context of that time. Death is personified as a reflection of how death was so common it was domesticated. The volte brings vivid movement and energy to the sonnet as death is revived in the form of “A shadow across me”. The “mystic shape did move” as it draws Elizabeth Barrett Browning “backward by the hair”. Death has become so prevalent that It was given its own voice, which was more than most women were even allowed this is portrayed when he whispers “Guess now who holds thee”.The presiding role of mortality shows the personification of death and portrays the attitude towards death as mere expectance. Death is seen to be the end of all things, within “The Great Gatsby” we see how this portrayed to reflect the materialism of the lives they were living. . At the end of the book we see Gatsby, Myrtle and George are all dead, and there is no obvious revival. Myrtle attempts to escape her own mortality, by starting the affair with Tom and we see the irony

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