I am looking for a connecting idea, common theme, or similarities between The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, and 1984. I know these three pieces of work are vastly different, but I was wondering if there...

I am looking for a connecting idea, common theme, or similarities between The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, and 1984.

I know these three pieces of work are vastly different, but I was wondering if there were any similarities between character traits, themes, or conflicts within the novels that I could use as my thesis. I simply need a similarity or link that connects the three novels that hopefully I can work off of. Ideas I had were perhaps

1. the fact that the three protagonists (being Hamlet, Gatsby, and Winston) feel alienated/isolated
2. that the three protagonists are all dominated by a higher power (being the ghost of his father, The American Dream, and Big Brother). And these higher powers are the driving force behind their actions.

I feel as though these are too faint connections! If you have any additional ideas to add to these, or something completely different, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! :)

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e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The idea that these protagonists are all outsiders is a strong connection between these texts. In addition to this idea, we can also look at how these characters encounter corruption. 

In each story, the protagonist is an outsider witnessing a society, social order or social sphere that is either in moral decline or that exists in a state of immorality (or even amorality). 

In Fitzgerald's work, Nick realizes early on that he is facing a very different culture than the one he expected. Dining with Tom and Daisy, he encounters a drama and a jaded elitism that surprise him, disappointing his vision of a sophisticated upper class. The flaws of this "wealthy set" run quite deep as Nick discovers.

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. . . . (The Great Gatsby)

Moral corruption becomes a central theme of the work. This is true of the other two works in question as well. Orwell's hero, Winston, is lectured about the depth of corruption in the government of Oceania. This corruption seeps into the culture at large. 

Hamlet encounters a fraud and a poisonous situation upon his return from university. The corruption of his uncle, his mother (potentially) and (also potentially) himself is a major concern for the young man as he contemplates the proper course of action for a person in his position. 

Sources:
helpwithenglish000000's profile pic

helpwithenglish000000 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

(The higher power in Hamlet could also be the new King of Denmark, King Claudius, rather than the ghost of his late father)

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