28th September 2018

1.8 Significant Connections

The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Winter Dreams, The Ice Palace. Using these 4 texts written by F. Scott Fitzgerald I will explore and explain significant connects throughout them. Fitzgerald tends to leave similarities in different texts through the likes of characters, techniques, themes etc. In this essay I will be discussing the significant connections between the main characters. This will be Jay Gatsby, Sally Carrol, Benjamin Button, and Dexter Green. Fitzgerald makes many similarities in his main characters throughout the storyline with the characteristics and tendencies of themselves, I will explore and explain these connections in depth.

Winter Dreams. Winter Dreams is a short story about a boy named Dexter Green, the main protagonist and also narrator. Dexter is golf caddie from Black Bear Village Minnesota, he is proud to be the most popular and wanted caddie but he realises he isn’t making much money off it looking at the life of his father, a wealthy businessman he was making mere pocket change. A quote showing his thoughts and the live of other caddies: Some of the caddies were poor as sin and lived in one-room houses with a neurasthenic cow in the front yard, but Dexter Green’s father owned the second best grocery-story in Black Bear – the best one was “The Hub,” patronized by the wealthy people from Sherry Island – and Dexter caddied only for pocket money. After Dexter meets Judy Jones he is inspired to quit his job as a caddie and goes to college, later he returns and becomes a businessman. He gets very wealthy off of his business and ends up meeting Judy Jones again. Everything that Dexter did from quitting his caddie job to becoming a businessman was all to win over Judy Jones because he thinks that money can overrule love. He has made Judy the main interest of his life. Dexter and Judy get into a relationship but despite of this she still mingles with her other lovers. It comes to Dexter that he will never well and truly have Judy so he ends things and finds a new girl Irene, but he is sucked back in when Judy comes to him one night crying. Dexter is gullible to Judy’s romance, clouding his judgement and distracting him from his own life. Dexter takes the war as an opportunity to get away from everything and when it ends he stays on the east coast and gets rich at Wall Street. Years after, Dexter hears about Judy Jones again, now she is married, she is no longer beautiful, her husband isn’t faithful, life is now the other way around for her. Dexter realises that he doesn’t even really care for Judy anymore, he is no longer blinded and caught up in her manipulative romance, now he cares more about himself and is sad that he let it all happen. Now that he isn’t distracted by love and his sole interest is his own wellbeing, he makes money without interruption getting very very prosperous.

“It was James Gatz who had been loafing along the beach that afternoon in a torn green jersey and a pair of canvas pants, but it was already Jay Gatsby who borrowed a rowboat, pulled out to the tuolumne, and informed Cody that a wind might catch him and break him up in half an hour”.Jay Gatsby and James Gatz are two very different people, much like Dexter Green before and after quitting his caddie job. James had an average life living poorly on a farm with his parents in North Dakota, so he dreamed up an ideal teenage boys life and then hopped into it to become Jay. Just like Dexter for Judy, Jay Gatsby falls madly in love with Daisy Buchanan and devotes his life to woo her by becoming rich and popular. When Gatsby returns from the war he wants things to go exactly back to how they were before as if Tom didn’t exist, “You can’t repeat the past” Nick Carraway tells Gatsby, “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can.” Gatsby replies showing to Nick and the viewers how hard set he is on believing him and Daisy can be back together again. Daisy and Judy are both unfaithful to their partners except for Gatsby it is in his favor of his dream of her leaving Tom even though she is stuck between the two, for Dexter he is the one being cheated on by Daisy. Jay and Dexter are in the same romance situation where they are solely focussed on their lovers and not thinking about themselves and the world around them, their visions of being with them are just out of reach and they are unaware that total possession is not possible for them. Dexter does realise this later on causing him to forget and move on, but Gatsby is attached and will not stop chasing. Jays tendencies are very similar to those of Dexter, this is because they both have a similar past and have experienced similar situations, they both came from a poor beginning and then had dreams of getting rich and winning over their unattainable dream girls, they both went off to fight in the war, they are both obsessed with success and romance.

Benjamin Button and Jay Gatsby do not have such a strong mental/mindset connection as the other protagonists, but some physical features of their lives are quite similar. Benjamin and Gatsby both fall for a girl (both named Daisy), Gatsby’s love for Daisy is very intense and it takes over his life, for Benjamin it is not quite as full on but the one main connection is that the girl that they are chasing is unattainable. For Benjamin, he can’t be with Daisy because of his ‘illness’, when they meet and fall in love they are at similar ages, but as Benjamin gets younger they begin to grow apart, “It’s a funny thing, coming home. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realise what’s changed is you”, Ben recognising that he is changing and in a different way to everyone else. For Jay he cannot be with Daisy because she is stuck between Tom and him, Gatsby trying to force it when really she is never going to be completely his because Jay wants to believe that she never loved Tom Buchanan but she did for a while when he was a way at war. Benjamin is adopted and starts life into a poor family in New Orleans just like Jay Gatsby did in North Dakota. Both serve in the military and go to college. They are both very mysterious, isolated people, not many know much about them. Even though Ben and Jay are alone and cannot properly be with their lovers, their two lives end only partially having their Daisy’s to themselves. Benjamin is with Daisy but she is an old woman and he is a young child so she is more like a mother to him in his last days of life. Jay had Daisy on the car ride back to her house but she is still torn between Tom and himself, when he is killed she seems to try to forget about him by continuing life with Tom, not even showing up to his funeral. Benjamin Button and Jay Gatsby have some very similar physical parts of their lives such as love and events like college and the war, they do have a similar mental connection and this is why they make similar decisions causing connections between them. They both want to be with and impress a girl, but Jays is more consuming and he turns to money to woo her, where Benjamin’s love interest isn’t a huge part of his life and they both want to be together but can’t because of his curious aging case.

The four stories Winter Dreams, The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and The Ice Palace, all written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, have many significant connections. These connections are observable yet not obvious to seem repetitive, especially in the lives and experiences of the protagonists throughout. A very prevalent connection throughout Fitzgerald’s stories is the protagonist’s love lives, all of the main characters from these pieces have an unattainable love, someone who can be partially theirs, close to them and want to be with them too, but is just out of reach, in every case there is a governing reason preventing them from being together. For Dexter Green it is the fact that Judy Jones isn’t faithful enough and Dexter is being distracted from his own life. For Jay Gatsby it is that Daisy is torn between him and Tom, Jay wants her to be completely his but she did love Tom while he was away and Gatsby can’t accept that. For Benjamin Button it is that he and Daisy are growing apart, oppositely aging and they just can’t be together. And for Sally Carrol it is because she is from the South and  Harry is from the North. These lovers that are just out of reach are like the protagonists dreams, their Winter Dreams or their American Dream. Some of the characters dreams fail with death, some come to realisation that they cannot be together, some grow apart, and for some like Sally Carrol we don’t know because the story hasn’t ended for them yet, she is right back where she started. I think that these collisions between different people or more specifically people from different places like east and west or north and south is because of F. Scott Fitzgerald using social realism. Social realism is where authors portray a theme or plot line from their own life in the book, collisions between two different places shows up a lot in Fitzgerald’s books and this is because of his own life and his experiences in North America and the tension between people of different areas.


Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Hi Angus,

    You have a lot of work to do in the last three periods of this assessment.

    You need to be specific with the connecting aspect between characters. My suggestion is that you stick to one character per text (in your intro it looks like you are going to cover several from each). Less will allow you to explore the texts in greater depth.

    Mrs. P

    Reply
  2. Hi Angus,

    When you are discussing your connection between the two texts, be sure to comment on WHY you think the connection exists. Comment on it’s relevance to the audience, then and now.

    Mrs. P

    Reply

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