Fiction Paper

Both The Great Gatsby and Washington Square are very much novels of their time, giving great detail about social attitudes in general and male and female roles in society in particular. They are also books that are concerned with image, illusion, and relationships.

Consider the various pairings in each book:

The Great Gatsby:

Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby             Daisy Buchanan and Tom Buchanan

Myrtle Wilson and George Wilson         Myrtle Wilson and Tom Buchanan

Nick Caraway and Jordan Baker             Nick Carraway and Daisy Buchanan

Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway                Nick Carraway and Tom Buchanan

                                      Jordan Baker and Daisy Buchanan

Washington Square:

Catherine Sloper and Morris Townsend   Catherine Sloper and her father, Dr. Austin Sloper

Catherine Sloper and her aunt, Lavinia Penniman 

Lavinia Penniman and Morris Townsend

Note that not all the pairings listed above are romantic relationships. Washington Square also focuses on family relationships as well as romantic ones, while The Great Gatsby also examines friendship.

In a well-developed essay of 4 to 6 pages (double-spaced), examine at least one pairing from each book, exploring the dynamic of expectation present (i.e., what does each person in the relationship want from the other? Expect from the other?).

Then compare the authors’ styles with each other. Who seems more successful in bringing their characters to life – Fitzgerald or James? How?

Do not just present unsupported opinion. Use examples and quotes from the books to illustrate and defend your point of view.

This project will serve in place of a midterm exam. We will discuss the ideas that you will explore in this paper in class as we discuss Washington Square, and The Great Gatsby, so you will have some basic material to draw upon for your writing.

Please note that any quoted material must have MLA citations and the books should be listed on a works cited page at the end of the essay.

Since you will have considerable time to work with the material, do your best to present thoughtful explorations of the concepts required. This is not a book or film review expressing your likes and dislikes but an examination of how the authors handle characterization.