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The Great Gatsby and The Talented Mr. Ripley

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It can be seen that “The Great Gatsby,” by Scott Fitzgerald is one the greatest novels of all time. Its method to depict The American Dream has been attempted to be matched an uncountable amount of times. Other aspects used in “The Great Gatsby,” by Scott Fitzgerald, have also been employed in many forms of media such as novel and movies. One that has done particularly well to employ them is the 1999 motion picture “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” directed by Anthony Minghella. Similarities in both the book “The Great Gatsby,” by Scott Fitzgerald and the motion picture “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” directed by Anthony Minghella are so clear it can not be overlooked such as; the context and setting, the symbolism and motif, the use of visual imagery, the given talents to characters, and the use of confrontation in both novel and motion picture.

Firstly, the context/setting in both, “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” and “The Great Gatsby,” are very similar. This can be distinguished in a number of ways. Foremost, the use of glamourish settings that lure both main characters in “The Great Gatsby” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” to the lifestyle. This is shown by the fact that Jay Gatsby’s house, the Buchanan’s Mansion, the parties held by Gatsby, and the lavish living of all these characters all relate to factors that revolve around the main character Tom in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” life. Tom’s life starts if as poor and he is lured into the life of luxury by the setting and content of Dickie’s such as Dickie’s Yacht, Italy, Dickie’s Apartment, and The Jazz Club. This is related to Nick and Jay Gatsby as they both in a way lured to the life style by the glamour although other factors contribute to them trying to reach a high life, the setting of what they see plays a major role. In both motion picture and novel context/setting can be said as major similarity and comparison factor.

Symbolism and Motif’s are aspects used widely in both “The Great Gatsby” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” An example of this can be seen as; masks, a way to disguise your true self. In the novel “The Great Gatsby,” character status is judged and based upon their wealth. There wealth is based on impressions given; clothes are a key component in this. The sense given out by fancy clothes is that you are from a wealthy background. When the character Daisy from “The Great Gatsby” first meets Jay Gatsby she is unable to distinguish his wealth status as he was in the army, and in uniform, therefore he was un-judged at all times. He used his uniform as a mask. No matter how rich you were you had to be in uniform. This allowed Jay Gatsby in a way to trick Daisy into falling in love with him. As it is known if she knew about his poor background commensally she herself states;

“Rich girls don’t marry poor boys,” sad Daisy.

Similarly, this aspect can be noted in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” for example the major event in the opening of the film. Mr. Greenleaf admires Tom Ripley’s playing of the instrument, he also notices Tom’s Princeton jacket, (a rich university, therefore he is assured as an upper class man.) This jacket is used as a mask by Tom, as it is not his jacket; it was in fact borrowed from a friend. Through this jacket the real low class, Tom Ripley can not be seen. This disguises if him as a rich upper class boy from Princeton can only be seen and his true identity is lost. Both novel and motion picture show it is better to be a fake somebody using a mask than a real nobody without a mask. In “The Great Gatsby,” Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchman have mansions and fast cars it’s the life of luxury, although it doesn’t seem like a big thing to them. Wealth is used to achieve things rich people consider as merely “toys.” Again this is portrayed in “The Talented Mr. Ripley” as Dickie does the same. He posses fast cars, mansions, a yacht and life in a pleasant, stress free country.

In both novel and motion picture wealth is used and seen by characters as just “toys” to play with and the real extent of its value is not deared. An exploration of a purpose or deeper meaning in a symbol/motif is also shown visibly in “The Great Gatsby” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” The American Dream is an example of an exploration of a purpose or deeper meaning in a symbol/motif in both novel and motion picture. “Rising from the rags to riches, of amassing a great fortune that will assure your life of luxuriant ease, power and beauty in an ideal world, untroubled by care and devoted to everlasting pleasure, with nothing to intervene between wish and fulfillment,” this is the American Dream. This is the symbol and of a purpose or deeper meaning in a symbol/motif. “The Great Gatsby’s,” Jay Gatsby is a man who rose from an impoverished childhood in rural North Dakota to become immensely wealthy although using “bootlegging.” Therefore he rises from “rags” to “riches,” he enters upper class society from nothing doing it wrongfully though. Once again this can be compared to “The Talented Mr. Ripley’s,” Tom Ripley, as he also starts off as a poor nobody, using masks and murders to enter upper class society.

This symbol of the “American Dream” in both cases, is lived somewhat but at what cost? Another example of exploration of a purpose or deeper meaning in a symbol/motif has to be “the green light,” found in “The Great Gatsby” symbolizes hope, a purpose, and a goal. “The green light,” symbolizes what he must reach. The symbol which has a deeper meaning or purpose in this case is “the green light.” Again this is illustrated also in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” as Tom Ripley uses a closet as a symbol with a deeper meaning or purpose. Tom Ripley’s closet is used as a symbol of where he hides all his sins and closes his closet. The closet is the symbol or motif which has a deeper meaning or purpose. This show in both “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” and “The Great Gatsby,” symbols and motifs are used and play major roles in the progression of the stories.

“The Great Gatsby,” by Scott Fitzgerald uses many visual images, and similarities and once again so dose “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” These images in both novel and motion picture are used to show the distance between the two levels of society. An example of this in “The Great Gatsby” is the West Egg and the East Egg. The West Egg is the area of the newly rich people who are rich but who will never actually be rich in way in which they will never fit in the rich people circles or society. The East Egg is filled with rich people who are actually rich and a part of a rich society. This visual imagery is portrayed clearly throughout the novel as so many people try to reach the East Egg. This proves “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” as we first see Tom Ripley’s environment, a Montague in the commencing of the film. This is a low poor society. We then enter Dickie’s world a place of luxury and immense wealth, Tom desires to reach Dickie’s world just as in “The Great Gatsby,” the character Jay Gatsby desires to reach the East Egg. This compares the both as they each use visual imagery to lure characters into their world and ultimately their lifestyle.

It can also be seen, that in both “The Great Gatsby” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley” characters are given certain talents. For instance, “The Great Gatsby’s” Jay Gatsby is given the talent of hope, through all obstructs his hope for Daisy drives him to reach upper class society and live the “American Dream.” His hope to win her back motivates him. This is a talent only Jay Gatsby posses and in a way it excuses him for all his wrong doings. He has eternal gift to hope and no matter how hard his goal is he will always hope. Other characters in the novel also posses talents such as Daisy who has an inspirational quality, people around her are attracted to her, she has a certain aurora of charm about her and there is Nick he has an ability to not judge anyone.

We also see talents given in “The Talented Mr. Ripley” to characters such Tom Ripley’s talent to forge writing, impersonating people and being a good liar although these are limited talents they are ultimately his talents. Also the character Marge, posses a talent to ignore, she knows the truth about Dickie’s wrong doings and such but she ignores it all. Dickie’s talent are his ability to inspire, somewhat the same as the character Daisy, he has a certain charm about him which is divine. It can also be seen some talents even resemble one another in ways such as both Jay Gatsby and Tom Ripley lack to face the reality or truth. They are both blinded by there goals. Talents are given to characters in both “The Great Gatsby” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

Lastly another factor worth considering is the use of confrontations in both “The Great Gatsby” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley. “The Great Gatsby” uses many event events of confrontations such as; Jay Gatsby’s confrontation with Daisy about why she didn’t wait for him, Jay Gatsby’s and Tom Bachman’s simultaneously confronting Daisy about who she loves and Wilson confronting Tom Bachman concerning the dead of his wife.

Similarly this can be compared to “The Talented Mr. Ripley’s” events of confrontations such as; Tom Ripley confronting Dickie on the boat, and Freddie confronting Tom in his apartment. In all confrontations it can be noted that they all result in tragedy or in an unpleasant manner. Everyone in both novel and motion picture seen unwilling to face the truth and this seems to be the major cause of complications in the novel and motion picture.

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