The Great Gatsby
In the intricate plot of The Great Gatsby, Gatsby emerges to be a character that is deceitful, self driven, a liar and concealing in one’s actions and intentions. These attribute to a great extent envelope the character of Gatsby because he emerges in the plot as a character that is bent on building a name for him. The essential thing about Gatsby’s character is that he carries a very conditioned view of personal success in the sense that his idea of success pertains to be defined in a social context of his times, and Gatsby goes to a great length in throwing parties and social events to project himself as a successful and accomplished man. In a quintessential sense, Gatsby emerges as a character that though devoid of innate integrity and sincerity, is amply motivated and driven to aspire for all that is deemed to be associated with affluence, status and success in the times he lived, without being slowed down by any constraints of morality or integrity. This worldly drive is depicted by his fascination with the green light, as he gazed “a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of a dock (Fitzgerald 22).”The Association of Gatsby with the green color not only highlights his diabolical intentions, but also speaks much about his enumeration with wealth and status at all costs. In the novel, Les Miserables, Valjean goes into the prison as an innocent and decent man, but comes out as a hardened criminal with little love and concern for the world
around him. However, his chance encounter with the compassionate bishop brings in a change in his essential character and he ends up opening up his heart in a spirit of goodness and sincerity, to serve as an apt testament to the redemptive potential of love and compassion. He sets out like Gatsby to earn a name and reputation for himself, but unlike Gatsby, his way to respect and recognition is wrought with ample sincerity and honest hard work. The love and tenderness that Valjean exhibits while taking care of the orphan Cosette depict his capacity to love truly and his ability to pass on love onto others. Consequently, Valjean, unlike Gatsby emerges to be character that has found out the true essence of life as is amply depicted by the words, “The Supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves- say rather, loved in spite of ourselves (Hugo 167).”Jeans exceptional physical strength is aptly accompanied by his ability to be a friend to many people who find themselves in trouble and amidst hard times. Like, Gatsby, Valjean is not a go getter, who is willing to distort the circumstances to emerge as a winner, but rather a blank slate that that is willing to mould into varied forms of goodness and love in the light of the circumstances in which it is placed. Both the characters, which are Gatsby and Jeans Valjean, are motivated by a drive to achieve success and to earn a name. However, on the one side this drive turns Gatsby into a weaver of deceptions, while on the other side the very same drive brings out a good man out of a hardened convict.