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A strong story has the ability to evoke certain emotions, and makes a deeper connection within the reader. For a story to become strong it requires certain areas. I believe that the most important areas are setting, characters, and themes. First is the setting, because the setting wraps around the story giving extra information to help understand certain events or situations during a specific time or place. The second is the characters, which tell the story, create the main conflict, and convey any moral point that the author feels are important. Lastly, the theme, which is the overall message that carries throughout the entire story. For a piece literature to be defined as powerful it needs to excel in many different areas, and when these areas come together in harmony, they evoke deep feelings within us, and allow us experience events and situations that we might not experience in our lifetime.
The setting is an important aspect and piece of story creation, because the reader needs information about the period and place to allow for better understanding of the elements, and motives within the story. The setting helps the reader understand the subtle nuances throughout a story such as why people behave a certain way that would be seen as unusual.
Throughout the Great Gatsby, places and settings summarize the various aspects of the 1920s American society, such as the wealthy, the rich, and the amoral quest for money and pleasure. The story is set in the early 1920s, just after World War I, during Prohibition, a time period that outlawed the manufacture, sale, or consumption of alcoholic beverages. The Great Gatsby’s setting examines the power of the rich, because throughout the book, the characters are drinking expensive champagne despite being illegal, which shows that the rich and wealthy are above the law. The social setting within Great Gatsby shows the difference between those who have money, and those in poverty, such as the wealthy and rich are not concerned with politics, religion, and anything outside their small social circle, and their leisure time. Also the geographical setting, the lake between East and West Egg, acts as barrier between the two distinct classes.
Within the Passing, the setting shows the time period of the Harlem Renaissance, where blacks were gaining pride of their individualism, and began to gather wealth. The place where Claire and Irene first meet is on a hot day on top of a luxurious, and classy hotel in Chicago, which only let in those with status and wealth. Another example of the rise in African American wealth is Irene lives in a large elegant house, with a white servant in New York City. Also Irene is show throughout passing shopping, and spending money. Finally this story takes place when the Harlem Renaissance was gaining steam, and becoming a movement. The Harlem Renaissance, by definition is a “term used to describe a flowering of African-American literature and art in the 1920s, mainly in the Harlem district of New York City.( thefreedictionary.com )” This movement brought new sense of pride, and the community saw value in their creative ways. It became a new way for the African American community to challenge the ever growing spread of racism, and stereotypes. Also through their creative ways, they could promote racial and social integration.
The characters within a story also play an important role, because characters are the tools at the author’s disposal used to tell and create a story. Another reason why the characters are important is, because it’s what we use to relate to, and what engages us to the story, and without characters the story lacks plot, and conflict. Also the author uses characters to pass on messages, and portray the main theme or morals throughout the book.
Within the Great Gatsby, the author uses the characters to form a story filled with love, loss, and heartache. Jay Gatsby falls in love with a women across the lake, Daisy, but she already has a husband. Gatsby stares across the lake at Daisy’s dock “a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of a dock”(ch.1). The author uses this to show Gatsby’s longingness for Daisy’s love and affection.
The last important area is themes, and at their essence a theme is an aspect of human experience that author wishes to express. Also the theme is the main concept or idea which the author or writer is trying to convey to the reader, and it can sometimes be seen as the true meaning behind the story. The theme behind any one piece of work, can usually never be taken at face value, because it can be interpreted in many different ways. With the vast majority of rich characters, conflict, and background, it’s difficult to determine the one true, because everyone has a different interpretation or opinion about the work.
The themes within the Great Gatsby which the author explores is the decline of the American dream in the 1920s, and the hollow shallowness of the upper class in society. On the surface, It is a story about the love between two people destroyed though chaos and misunderstanding, but at a deeper level, with many different themes. The hollowness within the upper class is show through the different sides of the lake. Gatsby represents new money, and the new millionaires, while Tom, and Daisy represent old money and the people from inheritance. Tom will always look down upon Gatsby no matter how much money he acquires, because at a point it’s no longer about the money, but of status. Another theme that the Fitzgerald examines, is the corruption of the American dream. The American dream is defined, “as a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.(dictionary.com),” But what the Great Gatsby displays the American dreams as is living dangerously, greed for money and pleasure, and throwing parties every weekend.
The passing explores many themes including racial oppression, repressed sexuality, “passing,” color, and poverty. The main theme examined in the Passing is “passing” which by definition is when, “African Americans and other minorities were historically discriminated against in the U.S., so the fair-skinned offspring of whites and people of color often pretended to be white to take advantage of the opportunities that would’ve otherwise been denied to them. This practice is known as passing or passing for white. It often required individuals to leave their hometowns and family members behind to ensure that they’d never come across anyone who knew their true racial origins. (about.com)” Irene and Claire fit the mold of a classic passer, but differ in the frequency of which they do so. Irene passes for social reasons and to fit in, and in her eyes doesn’t see it as passing. Claire on the other hand passes for wealth and status. Also the two differ in the amount consequences they face if found out. Irene fears being kicked out of the place where she pass, while Claire’s whole life revolves around passing, because if she is found out she would lose her marriage, and status and be pushed back into the black society that pushed so hard to get away from.
In conclusion the setting, character develop, and themes come together, as well as other pieces to create a cohesive, and powerful story. A well created character allows for a deeper emotional connection between the reader and the story. A well depictive setting, and background lends itself to the reader for better understanding of some motives and allows the reader to know the place, the time period and the current events occurring at that time. The theme is the moral behind the story, it’s the lesson that the author is trying to convey throughout the story. There are many more pieces that help create a powerful story, but if it lacks a colorful setting, deep characters, and a powerful theme then the story will just fall flat.
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