There are so many ways and means that man evolve himself into: his pursuits of his dreams, his conduct of his life as he sees it fit; his definition and interpretation of the other lives that revolve around his own life. The parallelism and yet paradoxically the extreme difference in the central characters of “The Great Gatsby” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” – illustrate the variances and also the similarities in the lives of two different men. It is therefore necessary for man to be properly guided by his perspective in life to enable him gain his rightful place in society and in this life.
The Great Gatsby: Stocks and bond became an intriguing business in the 20’s and thus it lured a curious, young, business neophyte – Nick Carraway. From his hometown in Minnesota, he moved to New York to pursue the burgeoning promise of wealth. Nick lived in a house he rents in Long Island New York in the area of the wealthy in West Egg district. He soon learned that his neighbors are all socially well connected and established with newfound wealth that makes them all aggressive, dreamy, gregarious and showy. One such neighbor is Jay Gatsby.
In Gatsby’s magnificent mansion, fabulous parties and guests happen every time. And what unfolds to Nick are circumstances that mixes all the decadence there could be. Nick is distinctive from his West Egg neighbors because he is a Yale graduate and has nevertheless established connections with the high society of the East Egg district of Long Island. Nick has a cousin that lives in East Egg, Daisy Buchanan. Daisy is married to Tom, who was Nick’s former classmate in Yale University. During one visit of Nick to his cousin, Daisy and Tom introduced Nick to a beautiful young girl, Jordan Baker.
Nick and Jordan become besotted, fell in love and carried a romantic affair. It was Jordan who confessed to Nick about the true state of the marriage of his cousin Daisy and Tom. It is because Tom is carrying an extra marital affair with a certain Myrtle Wilson. Myrtle lives in a not so impressive neighborhood in a dumping ground of industrial refuses that is located between New York City and West Egg District of Long Island, called the Valley of the Ashes. Indeed it has come to pass that Tom was audacious to invite Nick to join him and Myrtle to parties.
The summer that came along, Nick got an invitation from Jay Gatsby for one of his famous parties. Nick attends and finds Jordan Baker already there. It was Jordan who formally introduced Nick Carraway to Jay Gatsby. Nick was impressed by Jay a someone who is extremely gregarious, pretentious, good looking, and has a very winsome smile. It was Jordan who told Nick that Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan were friends way back their days in Louisville. Jay has been in love with Daisy from day one and still carries the torch to the present time.
The reason why Jay pursued his dream, his social status, his wealth – were all because of Daisy whom Jay wants to impress and win her love. Therefore, inviting Nick and meeting him was for purposes of Nick arranging for Jay to meet Daisy once again. It is because Jay learned from Jordan also that Nick is the cousin of Daisy. So, Nick found a way for Jay and Daisy to meet and talk. Daisy eventually got enamoured by Jay and thus the two has an affair. To which, Tom slowly became suspicious. Inspite of Tom’s infidelity, he still feels outraged that his wife has the gall to cheat on him.
Tom confronts Jay and told him that he can never truly win Daisy’s heart because what they shared is something that Jay cannot out shine. Tom also confronts Daisy and told her that she is being blinded by Jay’s status, wealth and power because she does not know and will never know that what Jay Gatsby has are all from illegal businesses. Daisy eventually realizes that she loves Tom and feels she has to sustain her loyalty to her husband. A tragedy that transpired twisted all of their fate. Myrtle Wilson, the mistress of Tom was ran over by a car and died.
The car is Jay Gatsby’s car and it was driven by Daisy. Gatsby could not take to heart that Daisy will be made responsible for Myrtle’s death. Gatsby decided that he will take the blame and claim that he was the one driving. Thus, it was such that Tom told George Wilson, the husband of Myrtle – that Gatsby was the one driving the car that killed Myrtle. George therefore suspected that Gatsby and Myrtle must be having an affair. George confronts Gatsby and shoots him to his death. Then George consequently shoots himself. Nick was the one who arranged for the final services for Jay Gatsby and buries him.
Nick breaks off with Jordan and completely decided to leave behind the New York City life that he thought would make him pursue his dreams of wealth, prestige and power. It is because he found himself immersed in mind boggling misery of intrigue of decadent morals, greed and values. Nick concluded that there is really no such thing that can be emulated from Jay Gatsby as the epitome of an American dream fulfilled. A Good Man is Hard to Find: The family of Bailey is due for a holiday vacation and they planned to go to Florida. However, Bailey’s grandmother prefers to go to Tennessee.
To win the debate, Grandmother pointed out to her son and his family that there is an escaped convict who has murdered to so many people and is on the loose. He is called The Misfit. The family was taken to the story of the Grandmother and they decided on Tennessee. On the road for their trip, the family did not know that Grandmother sneaked out her cat in a basket. She was seated at the back of the car, together with her grandson John West and her granddaughter June Star. Bailey and his wife were seated in front with their baby.
Along the way, Grandmother remember at a certain section came to her recollection as the plantation that she used to live. She insisted to her son Bailey that they should stop for a while so she could visit. Grandmother enticed the family to abide by her wishes by telling her grandchildren that the house is mysterious for it has a secret panel that leads to somewhere yet to be discovered. The children got fussy and intrigued by the story and insisted that their father follows the wish of their Grandmother to visit that house in that plantation. The road was graveled and bumpy.
As they all struggled thru the uncomfortable ride, Grandmother shifts her leg and it irritated the cat. The cat escaped from the basket and crawled at Bailey’s back. This caused the accident and the car turned over. However, no one is hurt. A car is seen to be soon driving by and they all waved for help. The car stops and three men approached the family of Bailey. The three men were carrying guns. And Grandmother recognizes one of man as The Misfit himself. The Misfit told the family that they have put themselves in trouble since they recognized him.
The two other male companions were told to haul the entire family in the thick woods ahead of the road and kill them. Grandmother started begging The Misfit in all sorts of manner elucidating on the Christian principle that all men are good and that The Misfit does not actually have to be mean and bad. Grandmother was trying her best to convince The Misfit that he could even be her own son but nevertheless is loved by his own parents and family and God and he should be inspired by that. Grandmother assured The Misfit that he could find happiness in prayers. To it all, The Misfit nevertheless shot and killed Grandmother. The Theme:
The Great Gatsby expounded on the realities of what it takes to reach ambition and goals in life. With the scenario of a prosperous decade of the 20’s the abundance of opportunities lured the Americans to pursue the heights of anything – no matter at what cost and what it takes. As Nick said in Chapter IX: “I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life. ” “A Good Man is Hard to Find ventures on the ethical values and faith to be generally in every human being.
The conviction of the Grandmother that she could spare her family from the ire of The Misfit is based on such principle. She pleadingly tried to convince The Misfit when she said: “Listen, you shouldn’t call yourself The Misfit because I know you’re a good man at heart. I can just look at you and tell”. The Symbol: The Valley of the Ashes is the metaphorical representation in The Great Gatsby between being a success or a failure in one’s pursuit of your dreams. It is because that stretch of dumping ground separates the old rich constituents of East Egg and the place of struggle of their dreams which is New York City
The cat buried deep in the basket that which eventually escaped symbolized the means that life can unfold to bring one’s fate to an undefineable track. Grandmother, with all her imaginary, fictionalized stories to earn all her whims was finally struck by the unforeseen way that the cat could bring her to her end, inspite of all the righteousness she beholds. She just has to have her way. As her granddaughter June Star said: “She wouldn’t stay at home to be queen for a day. ” Works Cited O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. 1993 Rutgers University Press Fitzgerald, F. Scott “The Great Gatsby”. Hayes Barton Press