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The Portrayal Of Male Characters Essay, Research Paper

Have you ever wondered how Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays their male characters in their novels and short stories? Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald portray their males in quite different ways. The authors use various aspects to make their characters very distinguishable by such characteristics as: lack of compassion, narrative point of view, and their overall person as a whole.

Ernest Hemingway portrays his male characters to be very caring and thoughtful people. In the novel The Old Man and the Sea, there are two main male characters, Santiago and a boy with whom he fishes. Santiago is very mild mannered and very considerate man. He portrayed this when the boy couldn’t fish with Santiago because he had no luck in catching fish. He did not get mad at the boy, but felt that the boy should be with a crew that is catching fish. This showed that he wanted the best for the boy no matter what. Santiago said, “You’re with a lucky boat. Stay with them.”(Old Man, 10) Secondly Santiago felt a lot of remorse for catching such a majestic animal for such a futile end. He felt very proud that he broke his streak of not catching fish, but now that the sharks had ripped apart the marlin he felt very sorry, “I shouldn’t have gone out so far, fish, Neither for you nor for me I m sorry, fish.” (Old Man, 110) This showed the great compassion that Santiago had for the animal.

Also the short story, “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway, the older waiter was a very thoughtful and considerate person. He felt that, “I am one of those who like to stay late at the cafe, with all those who do not want to go to bed.”(Well-Lighted, 32) This showed his compassionate side, because the younger waiter didn’t want to stay because it was disrupting his life too much and the waiter was only thinking of himself. In contrast the older waiter felt that he should be there if anybody needed a good relaxed atmosphere to grab a drink. This showed the compassion that he held for people that he doesn’t even know.

In contrast to Hemingway, Fitzgerald’s characters were primarily thinking of themselves and what they could gain without thinking twice about whom they might be hurting. Firstly, in the novel The Great Gatsby Tom abused his wife, “Making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.” (Gatsby, 41) This shows how thoughtless and hurtful Tom could be toward his wife. Also Tom cheated on his wife throughout the whole novel showing that he had no real compassion for his wife or the vows of his marriage. These actions prove that Tom had no respect for his wife and show that he was a very inconsiderate person. Tom also portrayed himself as a very inconsiderate man when he said, “just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are.”(Gatsby, 11) This shows that he had to prove that he could overpower Nick at any time if he felt like it. Furthermore, he shows no compassion for Nick’s self esteem and threw it in Nick’s face.

Another character in the novel, The Great Gatsby was a character named Jay Gatsby. Jay was a very mysterious man. Throughout the whole novel he was very discreet with getting phone calls from people that he didn’t care to talk to in front of anybody. Jay’s first sign of showing no compassion was when he started to get close to his old flame, Daisy. He showed no regards that she was married to Tom, and that she might be totally in love with Tom. During his pursuit of Daisy he found nothing wrong with waking one of his servants from their sleep to play the piano for Daisy. The servant didn’t play very well, but Gatsby proceeded anyway, ” I’m all out of practice, you see. I told you I couldn’t play. I’m all out of prac—’ Don’t talk so much old sport,’ commanded Gatsby. Play!’”(Great Gatsby, 100) This just shows how inconsiderate Gatsby was to other people when he wants something. Throughout the whole novel he never considered how other people felt, but only what he could gain from them.

The lack of compassion was very prevalent in the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ernest Hemingway on the other hand portrayed his characters’ to be very nice and thoughtful people.

The narrative point of view that the authors took contributed greatly to the effect at which the reader perceives the characters. When the reader is reading the novels the narrative point of view the authors takes hides or brandishes the character flaws of the characters.

Firstly, Ernest Hemingway made use of the omniscient narrative view. This shows what the characters are thinking and all the details to the stories that are otherwise left out. Santiago, the main character of The Old Man and the Sea was portrayed very effectively by sayings such as, “That was the saddest thing I have ever saw with them, the old man thought.” (Old Man, 50) This shows insight into how thoughtful a man Santiago was, which the reader normally would not have known. Another point could be when the old man saw the turtle swimming by and thought of how badly people thought of turtles, “But the old man thought, I have such a heart too and my feet and hands are like theirs.”(Old Man, 37). This quote also should insight into how Ernest Hemingway wanted his character, Santiago, to be portrayed. The use of an omniscient narrative point of view leads the reader to feel that they know actually what the characters are thinking about and not what they are boasting about on the outside.

On the other hand, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the first person point of view in the novels that were researched. The use of this narrative point of view helps the author to hide the flaws of his characters and to portray his character to be more mysterious. Jay Gatsby was portrayed very mysteriously throughout the whole novel by having secret phone calls such as, “Yes . . . Well, I can’t talk now . . . I can’t talk now, old sport . . . ” (Great Gatsby, 99) This narrative point of view shows no background as to what Jay was trying to hide or to what was going to happen and leaves the reader in the dark. An example of this could be, “His hand, trembling with his effort at self control, bore to his lips the last of his glass of ale.”(Great Gatsby, Pg. 126) This quote not only shows the way that he portrays his physical emotions, but in no way shows what he is thinking or feeling. It shows a jumble of thoughts but no map to figure it out.

The narrative point of view exhibited by both authors helps to display the characters of their novels. Ernest Hemingway portrays his characters to be up front and emotional. F. Scott Fitzgerald on the other hand, has his characters to be very mysterious and to keep their emotions inside without showing them.

The overall personas of the characters differ quite drastically between Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ernest Hemingway portrays his characters to be as normal as possible without any extraordinary qualities. Contrast with that of F. Scott Fitzgerald he portrays his characters to be very fast living males in which they are always the best at what they do.

The personalities of the characters portrayed in Ernest Hemingway novels compare greatly with an anti hero, a person searching for their own values and beliefs. A great example of this could be the spiritual fishing trip that Santiago took, not catching fish for “forty days”(Old Man, 1) and still out their trying to find the luck with the fish that he once held. Furthermore, the portrayal of his characters in his short stories is one of death and misery for the male characters demonstrated or in other words not a fast living hard-hitting male. The soldiers in “In Another Country” are put into that same category because of their wounds that they suffered during the war. In the short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” there is a man with a diseased leg that inevitably dies. Throughout all of his novels and short stories he shows suffering and disease and usually death for characters or at least the downfall of the character of what they are trying to achieve.

The achievements of the male characters are very actively used in novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald. An example of this is in the pursuit of Daisy by Jay Gatsby in the novel The Great Gatsby. Jay was searching and trying to woo Daisy throughout the novel, he also knew that sooner or later she would choose him by when he said, “I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before . . . She’ll see.”(Great Gatsby, 107) This shows that he knew that sooner or later she would come around and warm up to him because he was so determined to come out on top. The portrayal of Tom was much the same, he felt the need to be in control at all times even if it made people feel uncomfortable and intimidated. The first sign of this was when he said, “Just because I m stronger and more of a man, than you are.”(Great Gatsby, 11) This example shows Tom bullying Nick and telling Nick that he can’t do anything, making himself appear to be on a higher platform than Tom. Another example of Tom could be when, “Making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.”(Great Gatsby, 41) This shows the power that Tom must hold in every situation. Overall the characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald contrast the characters of Ernest Hemingway.

Through the interpretations toward’s the characters that the author took, greatly helps the reader to find insight into the characters thoughts and characteristics. You find how much compassion the characters hold for animals and humans. You get an overall impression as to what the character acts like and behaves from the different narrative points of view that were taken by Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. You also learn what the characters are thinking or how they are portrayed on the outside contrasted by each of the authors. You get a good taste of both styles through the works of these fine authors.

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