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The Great Gatsby

Gatsby Compare/ Contrast Essay

Many similarities and differences can be found in The Great Gatsby: both the movie and the novel.

One of the major differences between the two works is the initial meeting between Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway. Before the differences can be determined, the similarities need to first be examined. Gatsby and Nick met at a party that Gatsby had thrown at his mansion. Nick had been invited to this party because he was Gatsby's next door neighbor. This basic plot is the same in the movie and the novel. However, the details change within the two plots. In the book version, Nick and his friend Jordan Baker run into each other at the party, and Jordan decides to look for Gatsby. She is friends with Gatsby and she wanted Nick to meet him. They look but cannot find him anywhere. At one point they end up sitting at a table with some other people. "We were sitting at a table with a man of about my age...'Your face is familiar,' he said politely" (51). The two men began to talk about the war for some time and then their conversation turned to the party. "This is an unusual party for me. I haven't even seen the host. I live over there... and this man named Gatsby sent over his chauffeur with an invitation... 'I'm Gatsby,' he said suddenly (52). The meeting in the movie occurred differently. They were still at a party in Gatsby's house, but Gatsby met Nick in a crowd of people and it seemed as if he was looking for Nick. When they met, Gatsby knew exactly who Nick was, where in the novel he did not.

A second difference between the movie and the novel was the relationship between Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. In both, the two lovers were reintroduced through Nick. They both attended a tea party at Nick's house and their love was rekindled during that reunion. Gatsby asked Jordan Baker to suggest to Nick the tea party. "'He wants to know-' continued Jordan '-if you'll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over'" (83). "She's not to know about it. Gatsby doesn't want her to know. You're just supposed to invite her to tea" (85). After the invitation is extended to Daisy, the small differences come into place. In the movie, Jay Gatsby is already waiting in Nick's house when Daisy arrives. In the book Gatsby comes later. "An hour later the front door opened nervously and Gatsby in a white flannel suit, silver shirt and gold colored tie hurried in" (89). From this point Daisy and Gatsby began to see each other. In the book, all of the encounters were not described, but the mass amount of time they spent together was implied. "[Daisy's husband] was evidently perturbed at Daisy's running around alone, for on the following Saturday night he came with her to Gatsby's party" (110). There were many scenes in the movie of Nick and Daisy having tea together, going to town together, and going to a park together. The secret relationship was described in both the novel and the movie, but it was elaborated more in the movie version. A final difference can be found in the final incidents of The Great Gatsby. The end of the story ends tragically with the deaths of a few of the main characters. The first death that occurs is the unfortunate murder of Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan's mistress. The events leading to her death are described in detail in the novel. "'I've got my wife locked up in there,' explained Wilson calmly. 'She's going to stay there till the day after tomorrow and then we're going to move away.... A moment later [Myrtle] rushed out into the dusk, waving her hands and shouting; before he could move away from his door the business was over... [The car] didn't stop... Michaelis and this man reached her first but when they had torn open her shirtwaist... they saw that her left breast was swinging loose like a flap and there was no need to listen for the heart beneath. The mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners as though she had choked a little..." (143-145). The movie was not very informative about the death at all. All that is seen in the movie is a crowd around Myrtle's dead body, the accident is never even shown. After Wilson finds out that Gatsby's car was the one that killed his wife, he goes on a manhunt at Gatsby's house. The movie shows the scene in which Gatsby is relaxing in his swimming pool. He feels uneasy and keeps looking toward the patio and calling out Daisy's name. Wilson hides behind a curtain on the patio, aims his gun and shoots Gatsby in the pool. Another gunshot is heard and Wilson's dead body falls to the ground. Gatsby's death is not describe in the novel, it is barely mentioned that they found him in the pool with blood floating about him and "...the gardener saw Wilson's body a little way off in the grass..." (170), rather than in the patio. The 1974 version of The Great Gatsby followed the novel very closely. Minor parts were made different mainly to compensate for the fact that the novel only included events from Nick Carraway's point of view.

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