Mrs. trains, autobuses, of crowded streets, bridges

Mrs. Dallowayby Virginia Woolf and The Great Gatsbyby F. Scott Fitzgerald are two important novels of the Great War. They wereproduced in 1925. The two novels are two paired, parallel texts. They possess atragic beauty, a major source of their beauty laying in the subtexts of theBritish and American cultures of World War I remembrance.

Inlarge part they are both novels related to the postwar, novels of the city,cultural capitals of the English and American identity. They both have parts ofremembrance of the war and both look back to past lives of possibilities. In Mrs. Dalloway to the late Victorian erawe have the world of the young Clarissa Parry as the main protagonist with herhopes of intellectual and spiritual self-realization and Septimus as herdouble, a shell-shocked World War I soldier and survivor. In The Great Gatsby we have a boy, JimmyGatz with his romantic love and dreams ofsuccess. They both are abounding in emanation of postwar sensibility andmechanization, in imagery of cars, trains, autobuses, of crowded streets,bridges and highways.Also,both novels describe a society with a sense of conventional rituals, oftraditional class layers, centered on the idea of the party idea being a socialgathering. They two novels both represent a World War I cultural microcosm andthe cities where the action is taking place, London and New York, are twocapitals of mechanization and machinery.

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Asregarding the writing style, in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses long sentences, occasionally using not just onesub-caluse. He also uses the idea of the “American dream” in the novel. He usesa nostalgic and sentimental tone of the past, recalling memories from the JazzAge. His first person narrator is Nick, the protagonist. Nick Carraway’s consciousnessfilters the story’s events and adds a little mystery to the story.VirginiaWoolf captures her personages’ private thoughts, which allow her to move withan ease from one to another and also aids the reader to take a peak in the mindof each character.

She uses the interior monologue to show us their mostintimate feelings and their future actions before they are done. The reader hasthe impression that he or she is inside the characters mind. She also does notuse a central plot. The author mostly focuses in the life of Mrs.

Dalloway, onher inner world and sentimental experiences. She does not tell us a captivatingstory and nothing really interesting is happening to the characters. The novelis a sequence of events which ends with a climax.Inthe novels at hand, two roles are enacted by characters who are suffering frommental-disorders. Jay Gatsy and Septimus Smith are both suffering from shellshock, as it was named at that time, a war-related disorder, which was thoughtto be a brain lesion from the bombardment on the field.

In nowadays this iscalled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or shortly PTSD. In Mrs. Dalloway the main character, Clarissa Dalloway, theupper-class party giver is one of the victims of this disease, alongsideSeptimus Smith. She has health issues and almost lost her life because of aninfection with Spanish Influenza. In TheGreat Gatsby, Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway are the principal characterswhich both participated in the war.

Nick is the first-person narrator in thenovel and he comments on his own war experiences himself.InLondon’s postwar society, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, the invitations forthe gathering are chosen by the status or power. The action is set by the maincharacter, Mrs. Dalloway, an English woman, who is throwing a very Englishparty. She married a government functionary, whose house is found in the WestEnd, amid the wealthy.

The only character from the working class in the novelis Septimus Smith with his Italian wife, Lucrezia, or as she is called in thebook, “Rezia”. Clarissa Dalloway, of the high class, which has a post traumaticdisorder, lives with her life of memory of prewar hopes, of a life of romantic dreamsof an old suitor.Inthe English representation of a social gathering, the party seems to be thecentral activity of the whole novel, being frantic and nonstop.

In the Americanone, Jay Gatsby’s parties are big, loud and vulgar. They are the exact oppositeif Dalloway’s polite and select party. Gatsby’s parties are also a mix ofdifferent social statuses. The Great Gatsby startswith a small diner-party at Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s estate on East Egg. He,rich, she, the one whose heart Jay tries to win back.

This journey ends in aviolent death, just like the I World War. Jay stays across the bay, in apleasure palace, hosting parties in hope that Daisy would come one day toparticipate, so he can show of his newly earned wealth. He participated in thewar and now he is a subject of the postwar mental disorder or shellshock.

Bothhim and Nick Carraway show signs of the disorder, as solitariness and ahabitude to live in the past from memories long gone. They have both known theworld of mass death in World War I.Bothnovels have in common themes from the 20’s society culture, as the relationbetween new and old or vulgar and select. The war intrudes in peoples’ lives andfrom there on a rehabilitation process is needed for those who passed throughit, as the examples are set in the books at hand.ClarissaDalloway, almost being taken away by the influenza, is shown in the novel’sbeginning following her journeys to buy flowers herself for the party. Theoutside, the city full of traffic, with its rattling, blustering sounds, anopen space, is standing in contrast to that of Clarissa’s inner, public andprivate memories. The outside is a mechanical world in comparison to theinside. Another important character in the book is being represented by theveteran, Septimus Smith, who is a perfect example of the shellshock society.

AsClarissa, he has no scars on the outside. Even though most of the victims ofthe war were mutilated, maimed, paralyzed, disfigured, he seems untouched.Instead he has hallucinations and nightmares.

He is a symbol of a whole failedsystem, an embodiment of the war. He and Clarissa share the novel, nevermeeting with each other, sometimes even sharing a single center ofconsciousness, but at the end their world will intersect full of consequences.For him, it is the last day of his life. Thetheme of the party is a central theme in both Mrs. Dalloway and The GreatGatsby. In Mrs. Dalloway the party is where Clarissa and Septimus’spsychological trajectories will converge. As neither of them show any kind oftrauma, nobody thinks that something could be wrong with them.

Their diagnosisis parallel. Incomparison to Mrs. Dalloway, The GreatGatsby seizes less memories of the war and rather focuses on a minorAmerican war-tale, a tale about “an elegant young roughneck”, who is committedto win back his prewar love, a woman of high social state, now married to awealthy man, of a good position in society. As it appears, this text is a dreamof success and romance and a great novel of the Jazz Age. The two protagonistof the novel, Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby had been combat veterans in WorldWar I in the American Expeditionary Force, in the same infantry division andboth had served in major battles.

As in the case of Septimus, they both return fromthe war without any visible injury, but having in memory a scenery of death.Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway are fighting with their own version of the shellshock, as do Mrs. Dalloway and Septimus. They are socially disconnected fromthe world, numb.

Gatsby seems cold, quick of anger, he frightens people. He isa man of machines with his cars, phones and his speedboat. Nick also has itsown characteristic mental baggage from the war. He is solitary, detached fromsociety and ironic. The war brought Nick and Jay together from the beginning,but it was also the thing that ended their friendship. Aswith Septimus, we can identify isolation even in The Great Gatsby with Jay.

He has an inability to feel, he has somestrange phrases and a restless unease. He is assuming a fake identity and triesto have back the world as it was before the war, but all this is a madman’sdream. All the luxury, the cars, the crazy script, the ravishing decorationscan never recover what was once lost. Asin the other book, in The Great Gatsby, thetwo sparkling social gatherings end up in bloodshed and brutality. Gatsby, theheartbroken gangster, founds his end on a raft in the pool killed by a jealoushusband sent by another jealous husband. Also, Septimus’s choice is suicide, ashe hints the whole novel, which is no better an option or ending.

Gatsby ismurdered by the object of his own trade, a gun. Floating on that raft, it is asif he is waiting for his own death and contemplating his lost love and dream ofconquering back her heart. Both parties celebrate the death of people, which helpedsustain the civilization.

Septimus and Gatsbyshare many similarities. Both were World War I veterans, who try to reestablishthemselves in society, but in different ways. Septimus is tries to communicatewith other people even though he is full of hatred. Then, there is Gatsby, whothrows big parties at which many people of the upper-class attend. Even if theparties are just for way through which Jay tries to win Daisy back, they also helphim introduce himself back in the society. Both protagonist die in the end, butin mean time they struggle with themselves inwardly. These deaths provide aconclusion for both plots.

Both men were marked by the war and both were tryingto reenter society in their own way. Even though, Gatsby remained stuck in thepast and Septimus psychologically scarred


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