The Idea of Love in The Great Gatsby and the Parallels or Contrasts that Can Be Drawn with the Presentation of Love in The Catcher in the Rye

Love is the feeling which may be expressed in many different ways. The understanding of love also differs and various people have different considerations about this feeling.

The problems of love have been discussed by many authors and each of them tried to show something personal in that love, something unusual and different from what has already been written. Reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Jerome Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, it is possible to state that the notion of love is presented there similarly even though the texts are absolutely different and the problems discussed there are different as well.

Therefore, the main idea of this paper is to dwell upon the problem of love in each of these novels and try to consider the parallels and contrasts which may be seen. Both novels, Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Jerome Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, express romantic love which exists in the dreams of the men and who never tell about their thoughts. In reality, their love is expressed roughly in case with Gatsby and is not expressed at all if to talk about Holden.

While reading Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby for the first time, one may notice a desperate but thwarted love of two people who seem to have a great desire to be together, but due to particular circumstances these people could not do it. Dwelling upon thwarted love, the discussion is held about Gatsby and Daisy. Considering the love of these people, it is possible to see the devotion and the desire to be together.

It is obvious that Gatsby is absorbed with Daisy, “There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled of his dreams – not through hew own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of illusion” (Fitzgerald 78). Writing this, the author adds, “He [Gatsby] had thrown himself into it with creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted this way” (Fitzgerald 78).

And when do people dream most of all? It happens during the time when they are in love and when they are ready to dream about the object of worship. Even though Gatsby’s dreams are so great and passionate, the main character is faced with the problem that he is unable to tell about his feelings.

Each time he wants to present something, each time he wants to tell Daisy how great and devoted his love is, he is stubborn and cannot say anything romantic and passionate, like he can in his dreams. A great critic of American literature, Harold Bloom writes about this aspect of Gatsby’s character as follows, “Gatsby cannot tell his dreams; every attempt he makes to describe his love for Daisy collapses into banality” (Bloom 7).

However, it seems that the actions better disclose human feelings and the desire to accept the guilt of murder of Myrtle instead of Daisy should be considered as the expression of love and devotion. But the funerals of Gatsby and the presence there just Nick with Gatsby’s father and several servants shows the level of Daisy’s love.

The problem of love and relations in Jerome Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is absolutely different but the features of that love may be considered as the same.

The main character in this novel is fall in love and this state of mind and soil continued perpetually. Discussing the novel, Mendelsohn says the following which strictly underlines the romantic mood of the Holden’s love, “You cannot really fail in love because real love with a real person might be less than perfect (this is the adolescents’ dilemma), but you cannot really do anything but look for love” (Mendelsohn 124).

Reading the novel, it seems that the protagonist is afraid of growing up, that he is afraid of moving ahead as the fear of something unknown and strange frightens him. What is the result of such fear? Holden chooses the relationships, the live which is unavailable.

His relation to Jane is romantic and therefore it seems unreal as the world is cruel and Romanism may be only in dreams. Supporting the idea of unreachable love, Salinger makes the hero to become attracted with the mummies in the museum he visited “I loved that damned museum” (Salinger 79) which are unreachable as well. Therefore it may be stated that the novel points at the relationships which cannot exist.

Comparing and contrasting the novels The Great Gatsby by Jerome Salinger and The Catcher in the Rye by Scott Fitzgerald, it is possible to draw the parallel in expressing to love and in attitude to women. The male main characters of both novels are romantics as they are dreaming too much about their lovers but in reality none of them are able to express their feelings.

Even though the situations are absolutely different and Gatsby is dating with his lover and Holden just talks to Jane over the telephone. But both men are able to express their feelings only in their dreams. Thinking about their lovers, both Gatsby and Holden are able to express their feelings, they can tell them how they love and how they want to be with their women. However, the reality is absolutely different and both men do not have the words to express what they feel.

Considering the situation deeper and thinking about the consequences of love affairs in the novels, the men who had never dared to meet with his love, Holden who just talked over the telephone with Jane remained with the same feelings while Gatsby was killed and his love was thwarted.

Therefore, it may be concluded that Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Jerome Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye are the novels which focus on absolutely different problems, but the idea of expressing love is the same. The authors consider various social issues and love is just the part of the discussion, however, these authors managed to show that in many cases love people feel remains in their minds.

The feeling of love in these novels is romantic as the men have great dreams, they can love, but they never express what they feel and this idea makes the stories similar even though the situations and circumstances have nothing in common. Thus, the presentation of love is different as the circumstances do not coincide, while the idea of romantic love is the same.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. The Great Gatsby. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2010. Print.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: NuVision Publications, LLC, 2008. Print.

Mendelsohn, Jane. “Holden Caulfield: A love story.” J.D. Salinger’s The catcher in the rye. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009. 123-130. Print.

Salinger, Jerome D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Penguin Books, Limited, 2010. Print.