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James Kyd
Ms. von Holst
English 3
25 November 2014
Compare and Contrasting Between Gatsby and Walter
Two important American texts that utilize a main male character are Lorraine
Hansberrys Raisin in the Sun and F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby. In Raisin in the Sun
Walter is just a man trying to provide for his family in order to move out of their cramped
apartment. In The Great Gatsby Jay is trying to win back his dream girl Daisy Buchanan. Even
though both Lorraine Hansberry and F. Scott Fitzgerald both utilize Jay Gatsby and Walter
Younger to demonstrate how theyre both motivated by money despite losing the wealth theyve
accumulated, they differ in how they portray how they both want to improve their social classes.
Gatsby and Walter are similar because theyre both motivated by money. In The Great
Gatsby Jay once dated Daisy while still a poor soldier until he went off to fight in the war. When
returning home he comes to find out that shes now married which determines him to get rich in
order to impress Daisy. Gatsby describes Daisys voice as full of money (Fitzgerald). Gatsbys
description of her voice demonstrates how her voice drives Gatsby to want her even more, but in
order to do so he needs to get rich. Much like Gatsby, Walter is also motivated my money in
order to open his own business with the life insurance check from his father. According to
Hansberry, I want so many things that they are driving me kind of crazyMama look at me
(Hansberry 73). Walter is pleading to his mother about how he wants to open up his own liquor
store with some of his buddies and how much money he can make for the family if shell give
him the money to go buy the license.

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Gatsby and Walter are also similar in how they both end up losing the wealth theyve
gained. Gatsby worked his whole life in order to recreate his past and fulfill his dream of
winning Daisy back. The narrator of The Great Gatsby Nick Caraway says, If that was true he
must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a
single dream (Fitzgerald 161). Gatsby didnt come to a realization that he didnt have a chance
with Daisy which caused him to lose not only his life but his dream girl too. Walter also loses his
wealth while trying to help his familys situation. Walter is confused about what Bobo tells him,
Gone, what you mean Willy is gone? Gone where? You mean he went by himself. You mean he
went off to Springfield by himself to take care of getting the license (Hansberry 128).
Walters ignorance causes him to lose all of the life insurance check the family received because
he didnt have the decency to listen to Mama and put some of the money in the bank for his
sisters schooling.
Gatsby and Walter differ in what social class they belong to, but they both want to move
up in the respected classes. Gatsby started off poor which drove him to pursue in the art of
getting rich. He met his beloved friend Dan Cody while he was working on the lake where one
day he saved him from being in the rough waters while he was sailing his boat. Gatsby
eventually worked his way into the bootlegging industry where he met Wolfshiem. Unlike
Gatsby, Walter is in a lower social class working for another family but is still looking to move
up. The Youngers neighbor Mrs. Johnson claims, I know being a chauffeur aint never satisfied
a Brother none. He shouldnt feel like that, though. Aint nothing wrong with being a chauffeur
(Hansberry 103). Mrs. Johnson explains to Mama that she shouldnt feel ashamed of her sons
job because hes a hardworking man. Walter is also disappointed that the familys in this position
in the first place because he realizes that they can do so much better. He realizes that in order for

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the familys social class to improve everybody in the family needs to work together to achieve
the same goal.
Even though both Lorraine Hansberry and F. Scott Fitzgerald both utilize Jay Gatsby and
Walter Younger to demonstrate how theyre both motivated by money despite losing the wealth
theyve accumulated, they differ in how they portray how they both want to improve their social
classes. Gatsby and Walter are similar by the way theyre both motivated by money, but end up
losing it. However, they differ in how their social classes are portrayed in the two texts. These
two American texts represent two main characters and how they both want to achieve their
American Dream.

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Works Cited
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1925. Print.
Hansberry, Lorraine. Raisin in the Sun. New York: Random House, 1959. Print.

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