The Great Gatsby Character Analysis Essay
Thelma Dowdye Prof: Sean O’Connell English 215, Sec oo3 November 19, Character Analysis of Charlie Wales The story Great Gatsby and “Babylon Revisited” are authored by Scott Fitzgerald and are stories covering different issues in the society through the behavior of the main characters. The storyline of the two stories is different but the behavior of the character can be compared in order to understand the focus of the author. “Babylon revisited” addresses the action and behavior of Charles Wales, who is a vital character in the story. Despite the difference in character, in terms of the personality, he can be compared to the Gatsby comparing their behaviors and how they handle issues. The focus of Charlie and Gatsby is behavior change although Gatsby intention is to change is based on the desire to win the love of his life and not for change. According to Henriques, Charlie Wales have a likable character because of his ability to persuade the people of his struggle (Henriques 45). On face value, Charlie appears to be determined to stop drinking, but the same may not be true because the character still has a motive of drinking one bottle per day.
Unlike Gatsby, Charlie is able to control those around him by use of his charm. He is physically attractive which attracts Lorraine and Marion. The reasoning and argument of Charles appear sensible but later on, it becomes evident that it is a nonsensical argument based on Charlie’s behavior. The power of the speech of Charlie makes it easy for him to convince the listeners by offering only the positive side of his personality. The depiction of helplessness in the story is clearly by the power of speech and persuasiveness of Charlie. In his argument, Charlie argues that he does not want to give alcohol undue power over him, but still loves drinking, thus; the creation of the slogan; “one drink a day” (Fitzgerald, Babylon Revisited 67). According to Tate, (34) the slogan is a desperate, effort to persuade the readers that he is trying to change. Despite the argument, the greatest fear depicted by Charlie is the fear of going back to the past which may be running away from the new behavior change. Compared to Gatsby, Charlie depicts his problem in a subtle manner in order to hoodwink the other characters, as well as the reader. The ability to persuade the public on the nature of his weakness makes the situation differently and facilitates the development of positivity with other characters in the story. Charlie’s past life is a product of stress caused by the collapse of the market in 1929. The collapse of the stock market led to a loss of property as well as the development of serious problems in terms of alcoholism.
Jay Gatsby is the main character of the novel and the focus of the novel is on the behavior of Gatsby. Compared to Charlie, he is not physically as attractive but has the desire to acquire wealth without attending studying. The desire for luxury leads to college drop out because he did not like the janitorial job that helped in financing his education. The difference between Charlie and Gatsby is on the personal attitude towards wealth. Gatsby despises poverty, which leads him to engage in organized crime, to accrue wealth. The lack of charm is evident in the way he deals with the issue of the love of his life. He fails to win the affection of Daisy despite loving her (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 56).
After the world war, he realizes that Daisy is to Tom Buchanan but still struggles to try and convince her that he is the right person for her. The determination of Charlie is different from Gatsby because Gatsby focuses on behavior change in order to win the love of his life. Charlie, on the other hand, is in the past and does not want to change entirely because of remorse. Charlie is living in the past while Gatsby tries to change the present situation. Gatsby goes back to school with the sole purpose to impress Daisy and convince her that he is compelling enough (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby). Charlie and Gatsby fail in their motive leading to changes in behavior for Gatsby because of the failure to win the heart of the love of his life (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 23). The failure leads to another change in the behavior of partying as a means to an end.
Gatsby and Charlie’s characters are similar, but the difference in behavior change is from the motive for the action. Gatsby focus is on wining Daisy while Charlie focus does not have an ultimate goal because he is in the past, which is with regrets for not protecting, or caring of the family. The character of Gatsby is by the motive of change to impress Daisy while Charlie is a struggle to leave alcohol, but still clinging to it by using the statement of one drink a day (Fitzgerald, Babylon Revisited 45). The character of Charlie is by the past action while Gatsby is by the present situation such as studying in Oxford to impress Daisy.
Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. Babylon Revisited. London: Penguin Books Limited, 2011.
—. The Great Gatsby. New York: Interactive Media, 2012.
Henriques, Piers. A Contextualised Analysis of F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned and This Side of Paradise. Berlin: GRIN Verlag, 2011.
Tate, Mary Jo. Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. Chicago: Infobase Publishing, 2007.