A comparative study of Elizabeth Barrett Browning??™s sonnets and Fitzgerald??™s ???The Great Gatsby??™ explores the ideas of aspirations and the values of idealism, faith, hope, love and promise. Both texts, in varying contexts, reveal a change in the society??™s view on gender roles and changing perspectives. In sonnets 1, 14, 22 and 43, EBB employs the art of her sonnets and her imaginative powers to transcend reality. Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Barrett Browning discuss the common themes of changing views in love, dreams, time and hope.
EBB??™s Sonnets from the Portuguese is an amatory sequence which traces the growing confidence and jubilation of the female persona who ultimately achieves a mutual love which is both physical and spiritual. In her sonnets, it shows an intense voice which was unusual in its era. The traditional 19th century view was that it was a woman??™s role to receive expressions of love, however EBB differs in that she portrays herself as an active instead of a passive recipient of love. The first sonnet in the series introduces the narrative, the courtship and love affair. She is the silent love object of worship in a traditional sonnet, which acknowledges the passive role of the Victorian female. The repeated use of the word ???love??™ is ironic because it has implications of submissiveness and passivity in a patriarchal world. EBB makes a shift in `emphasizing the idea of platonic love and the meeting of minds. ???Do not say I love her for her smile??¦her love??™ indicates that EBB yearns for love beyond superficiality that reflects the Victorian notion of marriage as alliance. The final two lines of Sonnet 14, ???love me for love??™s sake??™ and ???through love??™s eternity??™ demand that love is based on its necessary evolution. EBB wants complete, unconditional love but not based on certain qualities, physical attributes or intellectual compatibility. The voice in the sonnets is an empowered one, asserting the right of a woman to be passionate and ironic. She is no longer an unattainable, ???silent love??™ object of male desire but the centre of consciousness, feeling and action. The embedded dialogue between EBB and Robert Browning ???I love her for her smile, her look??¦??™ shows a force between the poet and muse and how a woman??™s silence becomes strength and not passivity. EBB shows a new hope and strength for women by changing some of the conventions of the Petrarchan sonnet. She expresses the desire to realize the beauty of reciprocal love which transcends from physical to the spiritual and the idealistic platonic love. In her sonnets, she employs her art and her active personal experience of love which is the means whereby her love is articulated and is given a transcendent quality. The notion of idealized love is conveyed through the relationship of Daisy and Gatsby. Gatsby has established an image of Daisy representing hope and happiness during his conscription. When Gatsby returns, Daisy has demolished the dream Gatsby pursues.
Time is a key dimension and it plays a key role in Gatsby??™s life. Nick is ironic about Gatsby??™s past in the beginning because he describes his past and background in a strange paradox, ???I believed everything and nothing about him.??™ This evokes their factual unreliability while understanding their values ambiguously. He is persistent on reliving the past and vaguely lives for the present. This can be shown when he cancels his biology by leaving home, changing his name and leaving his heritage behind. Gatsby made ???a platonic conception of himself??™ in which he projects himself into the future even though he is in fact still stuck in the past. The Great Gatsby is symbolic to the American Dream, in which it tends to exaggerate the past and projects into the future. It is a period when the old values gave the substance to the dream that had been corrupted by the pursuit of wealth, new dream of money and fame. In preoccupying Gatsby with what the past represents, he is not able to grasp reality in his over powering ideals. From Gatsby??™s response to Nick??™s observation ???You can??™t repeat the past??™, Gatsby wants to relive the past and is not able to grasp reality in his over powering ideals. Fitzgerald conveys an idealism of the platonic love, Gatsby does not look for Daisy but the ???Daisy??™ who was in the perfection of a timeless past. In the final two lines of sonnet 14, EBB demands that the power of love comes from a spiritual source and it takes away all thoughts of change, even the passing of time. In sonnet 22, the speaker makes it clear that time will destroy their love.

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