Gatsby/Chicago Analysis

By: Sami Rivera

Character Comparison

- Daisy Buchanan’s obvious character comparison from Chicago is Roxie Hart. Besides the appearance similarity of being blonde, bodacious, and attractive, they share the quality of being unfaithful to their apparent loved ones. Roxie cheated for fame, while Daisy cheated simply out of lust. Both girls are airheaded and simpleminded, only interested in the lime light. Their appearance and seemingly innocent attitude allows the public to fall into their hands without even intending to. Even Daisy’s own cousin fell into her poise, and Roxie convinced an entire jury with the batting of eyelashes and a short faint.

- Gatsby, with his theatrical performances and exaggerated notions, compares to the attorney Billy Flinn. Both parties won the approval of others with exaggerated tales of fortune and wisdom, Gatsby at his parties and Flinn in the courtroom, that were almost always false. Gatsby and Flinn were characters, not real people, with fictional charisma and confidence that defined their significance.

- Mr. Wilson, Myrtle’s trigger-happy husband in Great Gatsby, and Amis, Roxie’s loyal, die-hard companion in Chicago, compare in that they are both selfless and willing to do whatever it takes to avenge or defend their wives. Mr. Wilson, under the impression that Gatsby was both his wife’s lover and murderer, took a shot gun and hitchhiked to Gatsby’s destination to murder him in cold blood in hopes of avenging Myrtle’s death. Although Amis did not do anything as extreme, he was also willing to say/do whatever it took to defend Roxie’s title. Both husbands were not only loyal, but gullible and blind to the manipulative ways of their wives’ in their private lives.

- Tom and Daisy’s absentee child, Pammy, and Roxie’s imaginary child compare in that they both represent an object, or a power-play, and not a real child. Neither women, Roxie or Daisy, share an emotional bond with their “children”, nor show any motherly qualities towards them. Roxie’s imaginary child was used to influence her case decision, and Daisy’s child was a show-piece to company to further enhance the charade of a perfect, happy family. Neither child was created out of love, and neither child necessarily received any love from their families. Although Daisy’s child was real and Roxie’s was fake, they both represented shallow show-cases of an imaginary world.

Three Common Themes:

The Jazz Age- The Jazz Age is a common theme explored amongst both Great Gatsby and Chicago. Gatsby obviously incorporates the care-free, exuberant life-style with his theatrical parties that thrive off the rampant jazz music and dance moves. Chicago also incorporates the Jazz theme with countless dance numbers and beautiful music, not to mention the choreography. Not only is the music and dance explored in both works, the dazzling costumes and negligence of money is as well. Both works display the neglectfulness of money and the importance of pleasure and luxury above all else, which the Jazz Era represents.

Women's Roles- The role of women is one of the most obvious themes explored in both works because of the changing gender roles in the 1920’s. Women, in that era, were just recently granted the right to freedom and expression on their own accord, and that idea shines throughout Great Gatsby and Chicago. Flappers were the life of the party; beautiful women in beautiful costumes displaying their newfound freedom from societal expectations. In Chicago, Roxie, Velma, and all of the other showgirls proudly showcase their beaded costumes and curled hair in their dance numbers and performances. In Gatsby, the parties are mentioned to be places for the women to show off their beautiful ensembles like Daisy and Jordan’s outfits. Although the respect for woman was lacking, and it was more about appearance, the era in both works expresses the changing role of women.

Shallowness of the Upper-Class- The shallowness of the privileged is a theme wildly pronounced in both The Great Gatsby and Chicago. In Chicago, the murder of men and lying in the courtroom phased no one. The only importance to the world was the scandal and gossip of the trial, not the tragedy and the potential justice for a victim. The upper-class paid no attention to the grit and reality of the situation, but rather what they could talk about while drinking luxuries and passing time. In the Great Gatsby, the wild parties and expensive luxuries were the only thing that mattered to the high-class during Gatsby’s parties, not even the death of Gatsby himself could stifle some sense of emotional value to the people of the era.

Where I'm From: Nick Carraway

I am from pencil and paper, from Yale News and the editorial section.

I am from the North Star state.

I am from whole wheat, and the showy lady’s slipper.

I am from the Dukes of Buccleuch and humble royalty, from great uncle Jim and Fay and Carroway.

I am from the Great War hero and a bond salesman.

From don’t judge a book by its cover, and take a walk in their shoes

I am from religious tolerance, but a lack-there-of.

I'm from the Middle West, the bread and butter state.

From the hardware shop great uncle Jim started, the legend of our success, and great aunt Mildra, who supported his dream.

I am from the family photo, picture frame crooked and dusty, above the kitchen sink.