Could anyone give me some comparative points relating to Love in The Rotters' Club and The Great Gatsby?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can truly understand why you asked this question. Here we have two novels: one set in England and one set in America, one set in the 1970s and one set in the 1920s, and one focusing on teens while the other focuses on adults. Still, there are absolutely some comparative points about love between both The Great Gatsby and The Rotters Club.

First, one must consider the affair and/or the potential affairs between the adult characters of the book. For example, look at Doug’s parents. They end up getting a separation because Doug’s father has a steamy affair with a younger lady. This younger lady suddenly disappears, much like Daisy disappears back into Tom’s arms at the end of The Great Gatsby. Further, there is an affair that is, at least, proposed by Philip’s art teacher. He is so enamored with Philip’s mom that he writes long letters of seduction in a pretentious style. Even though it is a different medium, this part reminds me a lot of Gatsby’s extensive tea party he sets up at Nick’s house in order to impress Daisy.

Further, we can also take a few exploits of Ben Trotter near the end of the book when thinking about comparisons about love. Ben is thrilled about his first sex-experience with Cicely, and can’t wait to attend college in order to have more experiences like that. It is the quotation relating to this that relates very well to Fitzgerald’s book and the theme of love:

He was lucky, wasn’t he, to have felt that way? Lucky Uncle Benjamin! To have known happiness like that, and to have held on to it, even for a moment.

Here we see a similarity to Gatsby’s elusive “green light” of Daisy, the light that Gatsby continually stretches his arms out to, but never fully achieves. This quote suggests the same thing. Even though Ben (and Gatsby) have beautiful affairs with Cecily (and Daisy), they only “held on to” love for a moment. It continues to elude them. This quotation (and others) show that the characters of the book won’t ever reach their goals in love.

In conclusion, I am taken with the idea that The Great Gatsby would be so very interesting if told from the perspective of Daisy’s daughter, the “beautiful little fool,” and how she grew up. This is (kind of) what we get when we consider Ben’s story.

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The Great Gatsby

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