The The Great Gatsby revolves around the

The novels A Room With a View and The Great Gatsby, both set in the twentieth century, depict the lives of young, curious lovers. Despite the differentiating eras, the theme of society and class is present throughout both works in how the social standing of a person dominates each character, and, furthermore, creates schismatic boundaries. Social class is a very prominent aspect that can be seen when certain people are neglected and overlooked as a result of them not attaining an extravagant lifestyle or high income. While the two novels highlight the differences between people of contrasting social and economic standings, they differ in the effects of social hierarchy. The Great Gatsby revolves around the overwhelming and delusional results of high status, as opposed to the oppressed actions performed by wealthy individuals in A Room With a View. Ultimately, it is The Great Gatsby that clearly demonstrates the theme of social class through the portrayal of America as a country revolving around status and the dichotomy of New Money and Old Money. A Room With a View consists of multiple characters who live by the rules of social class, including Cecil Vyse. Once Lucy Honeychurch’s fiance, Cecil is a pretentious man dominated by social convention who continuously separates himself from people of “unconventional” lifestyles. His pompous attitude is evident when he shares, “‘It makes a difference, doesn’t it, whether we fence ourselves in, or whether we are fenced out by the barriers of others'” (Forster 91)? Cecil’s inquiry refers to the social barriers between the people of England. He feels separated from the provincial folk of Surrey, England; their barriers have limited them to be unable to reach him and his thoughts as a result of their pettiness. Similarly, Cecil goes on to say how the barriers dividing them is fixated and forced upon him. Attempting to explain this to Mrs. Honeychurch, he claims that “‘he cannot help it if they do disapprove of him. There are certain irremovable barriers between themselves, and he must accept them'” (91). Cecil’s narcissism and dramatic disparity allow him to praise himself by stating that he is “irremovably” separated from Lucy’s neighbours. Through Cecil’s character, it becomes clear how social class can affect a person’s belief system, as Cecil almost sees himself as another breed entirely. While it may affect what a character believes in A Room With A View, status has the ability to dominate an entire person’s persona throughout The Great Gatsby. Not only are the characters’ morals altered, they also develop new attitudes, manners and characteristics once exposed to such lavish culture. The introduction to Tom and Daisy Buchanan immediately reveals their two most prominent features as a wealthy couple: restlessness and dissatisfaction. Nick Carraway hints at this when he inquires, “Why they came East I don’t know. They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together” (Fitzgerald 16-17). The two are described as wealthy, bored, prosperous individuals. As a result of Tom’s restlessness, he starts affairs, while Daisy is held back by knowing of his adulterous actions. After experiencing the extravagant life everyone strives to live, one can expect to become tiresome of the repetitive expensive aspects, which Tom and Daisy have. This shows a side of the Buchanans where they continue to hold high expectations and cannot be around those who have not any idea of the life they live. While Daisy and Tom may seem more materialistic when compared to Cecil, the two novels share the similarity of having imperious characters. Those aforementioned automatically assume power in society because of their wealth and social customs. For example, Cecil Vyse looks down upon others who are unorthodox, under his classifications, while Daisy and Tom who, likewise, only form bonds with those who play polo or are wealthy. Through them, it becomes clear that societal rankings can easily disrupt relationships in the flourishing lives of the rich. The theme of society and class is also illustrated through characters such as Mr. Emerson and Nick Carraway. In both novels, Mr. Emerson and Nick provide a straightforward, insightful addition to each story, which emphasize their differences from others- they perceive society in their time differently from the majority. In A Room With A View, Mr. Emerson disregards social conventions, as he is blatantly honest, and strives to please his son, George. He does not associate with the bourgeois community and believes that love conquers all. When he voices his view of the world, he shares that, “… all life is perhaps a knot, a tangle, a blemish in the eternal smoothness. But why should this make us unhappy? Let us rather love one another, and work and rejoice” (45). Mr. Emerson’s unorthodox perception of Europe calls the ethics of their society into question while stressing the fact that the love between two individuals should be more significant than anything else in the world. Here, he has no religious views, but rather a much more emotional approach to challenge the materialistic, conservative members of society. In addition, Mr. Emerson often reverses or revokes any form of institutional logic throughout the novel. As his character strongly supports George and Lucy’s relationship, Mr. Emerson breaks down social barriers that constrict the two from being together. His perception of the world allows others to receive more insight, inspiring them to go beyond society’s expectations and redefine what it means to have class. Being so enthusiastic about love, Mr. Emerson tells his son to “trust in love,” as, “passion is sanity, and the woman George loves, she is the only person he will understand” (27). This statement goes against social construct because of his reversal regarding passion – the society described by Forster believes that passion blinds or distracts people, while order and convention equal sanity. Mr. Emerson voices such things in order to make a change in society and teach people to go against what is always expected of them. By including him in the novel, Forster distinctly demonstrates the struggles of society and class in Europe through Mr. Emerson’s unorthodox yet thoughtful insights. During The Great Gatsby, however, Nick Carraway is the one to portray the theme of social class through his comparisons of the wealthy and the poor. As the novel progresses, Nick becomes extremely aware of the brazen acts performed by the financially privileged and how broken their society is. As a result of his realizations, he becomes tired of their reckless behaviour, dissociating himself from the upper class. Nick’s dissatisfaction is demonstrated when he shares, “When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart” (4). Unlike many living in the Roaring Twenties, Nick believes that the unethical and careless behaviour of the affluent community is the result of abandoning morals that a stable society needs. Similar to Mr. Emerson, Nick speaks up about the problems arising in society. His unusual opinion explains how the lack of basic morals produces sybaritic behaviour of the upper class and further ensues chaos. Another way Nick exhibits the theme of social class is his disinterest in where he stands on the social ladder. For one, he is not ashamed of where he lives, “at West Egg, the – well, the least fashionable of the two” (14), and two, he is honest about his living situation. Many who live on Long Island feel the need to clarify that they are not financially troubled, whereas Nick, on the other hand, knows that others have more than him and remains satisfied. For example, he also states how, “… I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbor’s lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires—all for eighty dollars a month” (14). Not only does he acknowledge the fact that he is considered rubbish amongst his rich neighbours, he is mainly grateful for the inexpensive rent. Overall, Nick Carraway is more concerned with his own merriment than what others think is in his wallet. Mr. Emerson and Nick Carraway are the two eye-opening characters both novels use to enhance the delusional behaviour among the upper class. While Nick is not one for love as much as Mr. Emerson, the two share the striking similarity of being unorthodox: Mr. Emerson inspires others to go against the rules of civility and Nick examines the upper class only to shame it. Therefore, their perspectives on society allow readers to discover what money can do to people and how biased social hierarchy is.