All protagonists in all the novels, struggle to cross the threshold into a new world supposed better than them, whether it be down to class, race or purely a change in life style. Fitzgerald isolates his central protagonist with similar obstacles of simply not having the correct background. Gatsby idolises Daisy out of love, however his dream seems uncomprehendable, as although he dates Daisy early on in his life, she could not be patient enough to wait for Gatsby to return from the war.
Daisy instead began to meet with men of her same social class status and under the pressure of having to find a husband marries Tom, who although doesn’t satisfy her for long due to his infidelity, does however have inherited wealth, like herself, placing him in the correct, respectable, old established aristocracy. Fitzgerald heightens the sense of Gatsby’s desperation to fit in by showing his dedication to winning Daisy; this encourages the reader to empathise with Gatsby and his incorrect specification as a man.
He portrays Gatsby as a romantic idealist ‘getting deeper in love every minute’, as he builds a new life for himself purely to attract her attention by dangerously engaging in illegal activity and becoming ‘a bootlegger’, just to accumulate a fortune to fund building a huge gaudy mansion across the bay. Fitzgerald evokes the reader’s sympathy towards Gatsby by showing Daisy to be aware of the probable ways Gatsby amassed his money and so forth sees him and his home as ‘fake’. Fitzgerald presents this dramatic irony by representing Daisy as a user of Gatsby, attending his parties but never actually planning to elope with Gatsby.
Fitzgerald does present Gatsby as someone merely attempting to become an imitation of an East Egg inhabitant, with his replicas of great antiques such as the ‘high gothic library’. Similarly Fitzgerald’s descriptions of Gatsby’s parties have an artificial air, he doesn’t even enjoy them, ‘standing alone’ giving ‘rare smiles’. Yet Fitzgerald juxtaposes this adulterated behaviour with Gatsby’s genuine belief that Daisy will see that he can occupy her lifestyle and therefore pursue his dream. Fitzgerald’s use of irony, in the waste of Gatsby’s efforts when Daisy declines his plea in chapter twelve, is effective.
Highlighting that even though he has all of the materialistic elements she values, Daisy’s deciding factor is something Gatsby has no control of. This shows the corruption and the obsession of money and wealth of people like Daisy, who singly value their world of upper class social acceptance, with a disregard to morals and any care for the effect on outsiders like Gatsby. Comparably, Fitzgerald presents the threshold between two worlds of class in Myrtle and George’s relationship. Myrtle Wilson strives for a life of wealth, in order to be accepted into the party lifestyle.
She escapes from her husband George who lives in the Valley of ashes, a long stretch of derelict land used for dumping industrial waste. Fitzgerald uses this land to echo the social decay from the upper classes, with their single care of being wealthy. George’s life acts as a large contrast to someone like Tom’s, his world is empty, this is emphasised by Fitzgerald’s description of George’s home lands, with the use of adjectives from the semantic field of dreariness such as ‘desolate’, ‘bleak’ and ‘dismal’.
We see the harsh realities of George’s social class state in the way that Myrtle chooses to be with Tom, a married man, simply to have her desired world in reach. Bronte also uses this element of uncontrollable separation of two people. At the beginning of the novel Cathy and Heathcliff as children see each other as equals, in their element when running wild on the moors. However when Cathy enters the social world of the Linton’s for the first time Cathy ‘starts to value trivial aspects of a person such as appearance, demonstrated by her return to Wuthering Heights, ‘If you wash your face and brush your hair, it will be all right’.
Cathy becomes aware of the benefits of Edgar’s wealth and despite realising her and Heathcliff’s seems more eternal and passionate, likening him to ‘rocks’, ‘lightning’ and ‘fire’, Cathy is too wrapped up in her own world of status. In comparison to Gatsby and Wuthering Heights, Desdemona loves Othello because he is adventurous and isn’t stuck in the world of the social upper class. Still, Othello receives discrimination for his background, as did Gatsby and Heathcliff.
In the opening of the play Shakespeare uses stage directions ‘Entre Brabantio in his nightgown’ and dialogue ‘an old black ram is tupping your white ewe’ to convey the lack of respect towards Othello, feeling the news is so terrible that there is a need to wake Brabantio, making racist references using animal imagery, to dehumanise Othello. Additionally when Othello’s relationship is revealed, Brabantio suspects Othello must have drugged her or used magic ‘charms’ for Desdemona to be with him. He dismisses Othello as an appropriate lover for his daughter and imagines her being held against her will and forced, ‘O unhappy girl!
Accident’, ‘thief’, ‘stow’d’, ‘chains’. However ignoring others’ initial judgements, Desdemona does not let anyone sway her decision. Overall, protagonists Gatsby, Heathcliff and Othello and some minor characters in the novels, all attempt to fight the battles of being an outsider, finding the walls between worlds are two strong for them to exceed and leave behind completely, concluding in them all becoming ‘tortured souls divided by social structure’ (Heather Huckfeldt, Resident Scholar) and ultimately dying unhappily.