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Jay Gatsby vs. Janie Crawford: A Race to Make Dreams Come True Essay

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Zora Neal Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God packs the narrator and the authors view on the then unusual role in gender and how they are undertaken in the novel. The opening line sets the tone for the novel and the character Janie Crawford, can insinuate parallel worlds between her and the character of Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby. If the parallels are being drawn respectively to the characters in the two novels, then the lines “Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men”, would relate to Jay Gatsby, in more ways than one, both literally and figuratively. The second part of the opening paragraphs in Their Eyes Were Watching God, would be closely tied to Janie Crawford, when the narrator says “Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” The quote could translate to, it is that when a man's dream is unattainable or far away, men are more realistic then woman. A man can differentiate between what his dreams are and what reality really is in their lives. The quote can also be broken down as saying that men never actually reach their dreams, or try to attain them, opting instead for accepting their fate and moving on with their lives, coming terms with the reality and living their lives. Jay Gatsby, although can be said to have reached some portion of his dream, never actually grabs ahold of them. For example, his goal for full acceptance i...


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... and think about it as a way of escape, and by giving away things that have no value to her, she is conveying that she “act and do things accordingly.”
Like Jay Gatsby, many elements of the paragraph in that opens the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God plays into Janie Crawford and how she fits into the gender roles that Zora Neal Hurston describes and in ways, twists, into the narrative of her novel and in the paragraphs mentioned. With these two different characters in two different stories, the narrator of the paragraph conveys a message and draws the distinctions between men, women and how they attain their dreams and the differences between them in doing so.



Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F Scott. The Great Gatsby. Ed Mathew Brocolli. New York: Scribner 2004
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Harper Perennial Modern Classics: Reissue Edition 2013



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