Examine The View That Love Is Presented As Something That Is Forbidden Queensbury Academy, Year 13 Essay

1234 words - 5 pages

Rebecca Preece
Examine the View That Love is presented as something that is forbidden
“Atonement” by Ian McEwan and “The Great Gatsby” by F.Scott Fitzgerald both portray social class as being a big factor in the societies they were set in. “Atonement” is set through the 1930-40s where women were adjusting to having more power, for instance in work environments women were being brought in as substitutes for the men away fighting. Social divide meant that those with money could pay for the best education for both their female and male children. In Cecilia’s case, this means an education at Cambridge, however no degree as women were still seen to be the weaker sex. “The Great Gatsby” however was set in the 1920s, as women had just earned the vote and had begun to explore their freedom with sexuality, e.g. flapper dresses, and fame, for instance Jordan Baker being a famous golfer. Women however were definitely seen as the weaker sex, and would be in far more trouble for adultery than men.
Fitzgerald writes Daisy as being “descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch” implying that money and status is of great importance to her, and so the social divide of the nouveau riche from the old money is a running theme. This “old money” trait is shown by Nick knowing this link to rather rich people in his family history. Gatsby however, was a “penniless young man” when he first met Daisy, showing that due to the time period he had to hide who he was in order to be with Daisy, showing the forbidden nature of their relationship. This is shown by the quote “the invisible cloak of his uniform might slip from his shoulders” as the metaphor indicates that he knows the situation is wrong and he is paranoid and anxious that they will know who he is. This shows he knows their relationship is forbidden in societies eyes even as they first met. This social divide is also present in the relationship of Robbie and Cecilia, as Robbie was “the cleaning lady’s son”. This quote shows he is seen as of less importance as he is not being referred to as his own person but in a way that suggests he is lesser due to his mother’s income. The relationship between Cecilia and Robbie would have been disapproved by society, as they saw Cecilia as Robbie’s “Mother’s employer’s daughter” implying that he was not a friend or anything more of hers as he could not be.
McEwan writes Briony as being a large factor in Robbie and Cecilia’s relationship being forbidden as she was in love with Robbie and was the reason behind him being sent to prison and ultimately being sent to war. Briony sees love as a fairytale, “she herself had written a tale in which a humble woodcutter saved a princess from drowning”. This implies her overwhelming urge to relate Robbie and Cecilia’s situation to herself and has a rather selfish attitude to the situation. This is mirrored further in the novel as Robbie recalls her asking “If I fell in the river, would you save me?” This suggests that Briony sees herself...

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