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An Analysis of Historical and Cultural Contexts in Oscar Wilde's the Importance of Being Earnest and F Scott Fitzgerald's the Great Gatsby
Word Count: 2,960
Oscar Wildes The Importance of Being Earnest and F Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby are set in different historical and cultural contexts However there are common themes and moods that both writers create within these different settings to help convey their social comments But there are also some important differences in how mood is created and in the themes presents to the readers and audiences This exploration of the moods created by settings should reveal a comparison in how setting aids the purpose of a text The Great Gatsby and The Importance of Being Earnest both reflect times when society was not as bright and cheerful as the upper classes tried to make it People tried to create a mask of happiness ease and freedom to hide the darker side of life being experienced by the lower classes In The Great Gatsby the reader gets a chance to see beneath the mask and catch glimpses of the darkness of society the corruption in the upper classes and the misery in the lower classes The reader sees people living amongst the ash heaps and the horrific deaths of Myrtle Gatsby and Wilson that are brought about by Toms greed A destructive mood is created through Toms violence towards Myrtle Myrtle and Gatsbys murders and Wilsons suicide In Scott Fitzgeralds Criticism of America Marius Bewley describes The Great Gatsby as an exploration of the American Dream as it exists in a corrupt period and it is an attempt to determine that concealed boundary that divides the reality from the illusions 2 I think that Bewley has found the essence of The Great Gatsby with the description of the society as corrupt Tom and Daisy try to keep the mask in place but when it does start to slip after Myrtles murder they leave before anyone has the chance to notice Only Nick and Jordan notice and comment on how Daisy and Tom smash things up This
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