To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby are two of the greatest works of literature, because they present a story which would otherwise be seen as stupid and boring and present them in a way that makes you fall in love with the literature. Let me reiterate, they are two of the greatest works of literature, untouchable classics. They are equal in the perspective that they provide the reader with a main plot: Boo Radley and the truth of Gatsby, but give a theme, a tone an underlying substance which makes the reader question the truth and morality of what the writer was actually wanting to say. They are equal in this perspective, but how are they opposite?
The True Theme:
Racism - Harper Lee very carefully deals with racism in her story, using it as the basis of describing Atticus Finch's reasons for not making Boo Radley a hero. In truth it was Tom Robinson that was the mockingbird, but the tumultuous time that the novel was written in proved that it needed to be Boo Radley. Racism is not introduced into the novel, but it is rather spoken of as if it was there all along. It doesn't appear as a friend or a villain, though it becomes one, lets say evolves into one, during the storm before the trial. The novel is truly about racism, even though it was written as if it was not. It still lives and makes the reader think, as a theme.
Classism - People are seperated in the big cities, Vancouver, Toronto, by class. In these cities it isn't about your goddamn work ethic or your attitude, it's how often you get to wear the nice suits. It's where you got to go to school. It's who your dad was. It's different from the caste system in the way that you are what you always were, it's similar in the way that you are born into a class, no matter how long you retain it. The Great Gatsby is about a man trying to find the truth behind his enigmatic neighbor, a Trimalchio of the 20s. Everything about Gatsby shows the difference in classes and the attitudes of those and how they react to those below them. In truth, this is what the book is about, we care for what we learn from the story and we learn why classism is one of the most disgusting forms of discrimination: we read for Gatsby, we leave with truth.
The Great Depression - Ah the Dirty Thirties, you presented to us, Harper Lee, a world that had gone through so much hardship to enter a time where nobody wanted to live. The Great Depression and how poor people are is shown through so many different ways in the novel, but because it is underlying it is so hard for many people to grasp how this is instrumental to the stringing of every bead that is the novel's plot. Most people think it's just Atticus confirming to Scout that the family is indeed, poor.
The Roaring Twenties - Woo! Bam! This is a time contrary to the Great Depression because it is the result of a people who just wanted to let go. A people who wanted to celebrate and live every day as if it was their last. A bunch of cities whose elite gathered together in splendor, renovating and shifting the city to fit their design! New York was the best example of this for in the Roaring Twenties, New York as a whole, became the house of the Gold Hatted Gatsby. It is the Roaring Twenties setting, that makes Gatsby what he is, rich.
Those two things: Time and Them, ah the old Time/Theme Continuum that make up the major differences of a novel which deal with two parallels of something that is completely the same: discrimination. Sure the core story is decidedly different, but what the two novels hope to convey, are not really.
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