Novel Themes and Connections in “The Awakening”, “The Great Gatsby”, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “Invisible Man”
Novel Themes and Connections to “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin tells about a woman who breaks away from her mundane relationship, understanding what it means to be a free and independent woman. During her breakthrough period, she begins to experience freedom of expression, engaging herself in her paintings, and making friends with unconventional sorts, such as the town player (Chopin, 1982). The overall themes of this novel are aloneness as the result of independence and using self-expression to find one’s self. Kate Chopin, being an atypical writer for in the early 1900s, experienced both aloneness because of her independence, as she was quite well-known for her authoring questionable novels. She also used self-expression, through writing, to show the world her thoughts and ideals. Indeed, her independence by implementing self-expression led to her loneliness, making her very much like the character that she wrote about in her groundbreaking female-driven novel.
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a story about the adventures of Nick, a young man who had just moved to New York. He has come from a moralistic town in the Midwest to reside in a rich, upperclass city. In attempts to try to fit in with his new neighbors and to blend in with his surroundings, Nick bonds with his cousin and her husband, eventually meriting an invitation to attend a fancy party by one of the city’s more wealthy habitants. While living in the city and among these new people, Nick witnesses love affairs and murder, finally realizing that this fancy life was not at all to his tastes (Fitzgerald, 2004). The overall themes of this novel are the decline of the American dream and the haughtiness, unconventional lifestyles of the upperclass. Fitzgerald, who had sought the American dream by becoming a writer, had many experiences in which he realized that one lifestyle was not better than another lifestyle, especially if love, greed, and money were involved.
“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Ernest Hemingway is about a man named Henry who is dying after he develops an infection while on safari in Africa. As he lays dying, he thinks back and realizes how unsuccessful he was with his writing and how much this upsets him. He realizes that, at this point in time, he cannot go back and change what he was unable to do. Henry scolds himself as he recalls all of the wondrous events that he witnessed in his life, yet he never took the time to write any of them down (Hemingway, 1995). The major theme of this story is artistic creation, the need for people to be able to express themselves through an artistic medium. Hemingway, as an author, had probably seen as much as his character, yet he makes sure that he is able to write down every experience, lest he ends up just like Henry, dying and feeling unaccomplished and guilty at having left nothing behind as a reminder of who he was.
“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison tells about an unnamed African American man who believes himself to be invisible because of the color of his skin. He lives his life by himself, unnoticed by others. The theme in this novel is the invisibility of the underdog; in the case of the protagonist, it is the invisibility of the minority, the black man (Ellison, 1995). It is because of this underlying theme, as well as the seclusion and “invisibility” of the unnamed black man, that it is widely believed that the story is about Ellison himself. Indeed, being a black man is enough to ostracize him from some people, and being a black author is a completely different story. Ellison could have been quite familiar with the theme and story that he conveyed, for he might have gone through the same events himself.
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1982. Print.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1995. Print.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult, 2004. Print.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Snows of Kilimanjaro. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult, 1995. Print.