Emotion Over Reason: Frankenstein and The Great Gatsby

8 August 2016

Duff Brenna once said, “All literature shows us the power of emotion. It is emotion, not reason, that motivates characters in literature. ” This means characters in literature are prompted to follow their true emotions instead of their own reasoning. This is true as demonstrated in the two works, Frankentein by Mary Shelley and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Characters follow their hearts rather than their minds, which is usually the reason behind their actions. In Frankentein, the monster’s actions are driven by emotions.

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This is evident when the story is told from the monster’s perspective. When first created, the being was abandoned by his creator, Victor. This hurts the monster emotionally because he cared for his creator and yet he was abandoned. When tries to integrate himself into society but is shunned and outcasted, this adds to the monster’s hurt and loneliness. The monster did not intend to hurt anyone, but a boy who was mocking him revealed himself to be William Frankenstein which is Victor’s younger brother. Due to the rage at his creator’s indifference, the monster killed the boy.

The monster wants Victor to feel remorse for his actions and does this by hurting his loved ones. When he finds Victor’s body on the ship, he cries and then leaves to build a funeral pyre and die. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby wants Daisy because his whole life is devoted to a fulfillment of a romantic dream he created at an earlier age. Gatsby wants Daisy to say she never loved Tom and they could go on living happily together. Through Gatsby’s emotions of desire, love, and hope he has created an image of Daisy in his mind which Daisy can never live up to.

These emotions lead him to become successful and rich, throw elaborate parties to try and lead Daisy to him, and much more. His emotions drive his obsessions throughout his life. Both Jay Gatsby and the monster act on pure emotions. Neither one uses reason to determine what they should do. Emotions such as rage, hurt, desire, hope, and love drive these characters to do what they think is right. Their hearts make the decisions, not their minds. Emotions are what motivate characters in literature and can they be very powerful in doing so.

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