I am currently studying The Great Gatsby in class and am in need of a related text/material. I would like it to have overlapping themes of economic power and/or social power. 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Fitzgerald's short story, "Winter Dreams," and John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men might be related texts to investigate.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote "Winter Dreams" in 1922.  Three years before The Great Gatsby  was published, Fitzgerald explored the themes of economic and social power through the eyes of Dexter, a caddy turned business success, and Judy Jones, the source of his "winter dreams."  Judy operates like Daisy and Dexter possesses many of the same traits of Gatsby.  Economic privilege and social power plays a significant role in their relationship.  The short story is powerful in how it delves into "glittering things" and the contours of human happiness. It might be interesting to see how "Winter Dreams" operated as an early draft for the ideas explored in The Great Gatsby.  The story's ending is not as forceful as what we see happen to Gatsby, but it is as tragic in how Fitzgerald suggests that the common denominator between all people is the propensity for unhappy lives.

Unhappiness as a result of economic and social power is a significant part of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.  Unlike the opulence of Gatsby's world, Steinbeck sets his story amidst the backdrop of migrant workers who toil for very little in 1930s California.  Like Fitzgerald, Steinbeck plays with the dynamic of idealism and realism, with a harsh emphasis on how the latter impacts the former.  The main characters, George and Lennie, are as driven by their dream as Gatsby was by his.  In both works, the ability to dream is set against the reality of economic and social power.  The ways that Steinbeck and Fitzgerald navigate this dynamic might prove very interesting to compare and contrast.

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The Great Gatsby

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