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Similarity Essay

Jay Gatsby and Pechorin are two very different characters that take place in two different time periods but show many similarities. Superfluous men are set apart by their superior talents by being excessive in societies, unnecessary and cause more trouble than they are worth, and are in corrupted societies. This is a big quality that two different characters share. In The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald and A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, use Gatsby and Pechorin as superfluous heroes in their society to show how the authors felt society was corrupt.

Jay Gatsby and Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin both share a similar background trait that helps them both be superfluous. Both Gatsby and Pechorin been trained for the military, which helps them develop talents good in war but helped little in developing qualities to get through a life without war. Without a place to use these skills, each found a place by themselves. He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward-and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. (p.26, Fitzgerald) So after World War I had ended, Gatsby went back to pursue his only love and found out she got married, leaving him superfluous. Pechorin, without battles to fight, chose to amuse himself by pursuing relationships with women and then ruining them in some way. Lying to enemy countries may have been a useful skill in the military, but when trying to get a girl to cheat and lie won t bring about any good. Acting ostentatious is part of Pechorin s personality as well as Gatsby s as a result of military training. It’s as if each thought by being showy they could get what they want. Gatsby and Pechorin both got training in the military by their society but when they weren t needed, society left them without an outlet for the their talents to develop.

Without a role in each society, Gatsby and Pechorin became unnecessary and made more trouble than they are worth. Gatsby became a bootlegger and got rich in hopes of finding some happiness. Pechorin, too, isn t really necessary in his time. I don t know whether I m a fool or a scoundrel, but one thing I am sure of is a that I m sure of is that I m just as much to be pitied as she is, perhaps even more. My soul s been corrupted by society. My imagination knows no peace, my heart any satisfaction. I m never satisfied. I grow used to sorrow as easily as I do to pleasure, and my life gets emptier every day. The only thing left for is to travel. (p.54, Lermontov) He spent his days trying to entertain himself with the misfortunes of others, that he had a hand in creating. Neither the society in The Great Gatsby nor A Hero of Our Time s society needed any more people like Gatsby and Pechorin. Pechorin and Gatsby just don t have a place in society where they could be appreciated for who they are since they didn t have a place to use their talents.

Both The Great Gatsby and A Hero of Our Time were social commentaries that criticize the corruptness in each society. Gatsby and Pechorin s talents are simply lost in a time and place that created them but couldn t use them. Fitzgerald focuses mainly on criticizing people of his time just as Lermontov seems to do in his novel. Fitzgerald point out the flaws and effects of money in a day and age of rebellion. Lermontov criticizes the society in A Hero of Our Time by pointing out so blatantly that his superior man lacks purpose and can t reach fulfillment. Lermontov shows that Pechorin lacks purpose in his life because of his terrible upbringing and environment. Fitzgerald, as well shows that perhaps society should have developed other talents and taught other lessons besides those of military. Fitzgerald and Lermontov use the novels to point out the faults in their own societies.

Despite the differences in time, Fitzgerald and Lermontov used similar superfluous heroes to bring out the flaws in their own society. They both show similarities of being superfluous men by developing talents for war but not life without warm, not having a place in society to be appreciated, and the corruptions in both societies in the two different time periods. Perhaps neither character would have turned out so badly if their society could have developed other characteristics and had not left Gatsby and Pechorin with so much free time to do wrong.


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