Compare how settings and societies are essential to the mood in 'The Great Gatsby' by F Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde

Essay by purplegirl March 2004

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Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and F Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' are set in different historical and cultural contexts. However, there are common themes and moods that both writers create within these different settings to help convey their social comments. But there are also some important differences in how mood is created and in the themes presents to the readers and audiences. This exploration of the moods created by settings, should reveal a comparison in how setting aids the purpose of a text.

'The Great Gatsby' and 'The Importance of Being Earnest' both reflect times when society was not as bright and cheerful as the upper classes tried to make it. People tried to create a mask of happiness, ease and freedom to hide the darker side of life being experienced by the lower classes. In 'The Great Gatsby' the reader gets a chance to see beneath the mask and catch glimpses of the darkness of society, the corruption in the upper classes and the misery in the lower classes.

The reader sees people living amongst the ash heaps and the horrific deaths of Myrtle, Gatsby and Wilson that are brought about by Tom's greed. A destructive mood is created through Tom's violence towards Myrtle, Myrtle and Gatsby's murders and Wilson's suicide. In 'Scott Fitzgerald's Criticism of America', Marius Bewley describes 'The Great Gatsby' as "an exploration of the American Dream as it exists in a corrupt period, and it is an attempt to determine that concealed boundary that divides the reality from the illusions." 2. I think that Bewley has found the essence of 'The Great Gatsby' with the description of the society as "corrupt". Tom and Daisy try to keep the mask in place but when it does start to slip,