Advice on a comparison between The Great Gatsby and The Picture of Dorian Grey

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xS1m
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Hi,

I'm currently in Year 12 and beginning my coursework for English Literature (Edexcel). I've decided to answer a comparison between The Great Gatsby and The Picture of Dorian Grey.

Does anyone have any ideas on comparisons for narcissism?

Thanks!
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BogdanK
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(Original post by xS1m)
Hi,

I'm currently in Year 12 and beginning my coursework for English Literature (Edexcel). I've decided to answer a comparison between The Great Gatsby and The Picture of Dorian Grey.

Does anyone have any ideas on comparisons for narcissism?

Thanks!
In many ways, "The Great Gatsby" portrays a narcissism that is more indirect and subtle than that which is presented in "The Picture of Dorian Grey". Gatsby's narcissism is more a passionate love for an idea that sprung from his perception of Daisy. He isn't necessarily in love with himself but rather in love with a perception that arose from his interaction with Daisy, so he's attached to an idea of another person that, in it, necessarily contains a reflective element. In "The Picture of Dorian Grey" it portrays a more obvious narcissism; however, it develops out of a love felt towards a woman (towards Sybil who dies because of Dorian). Both show a narcissism arising from an experience with a beloved woman: the former directs this narcissism towards an idea, the later towards himself. I think because of this Gatsby is a lot more likeable than Dorian and, at times, a lot more interesting.
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xS1m
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(Original post by BogdanK)
In many ways, "The Great Gatsby" portrays a narcissism that is more indirect and subtle than that which is presented in "The Picture of Dorian Grey". Gatsby's narcissism is more a passionate love for an idea that sprung from his perception of Daisy. He isn't necessarily in love with himself but rather in love with a perception that arose from his interaction with Daisy, so he's attached to an idea of another person that, in it, necessarily contains a reflective element. In "The Picture of Dorian Grey" it portrays a more obvious narcissism; however, it develops out of a love felt towards a woman (towards Sybil who dies because of Dorian). Both show a narcissism arising from an experience with a beloved woman: the former directs this narcissism towards an idea, the later towards himself. I think because of this Gatsby is a lot more likeable than Dorian and, at times, a lot more interesting.
Thank you so much for your response!

I agree, the narcissism in "The Great Gatsby" is a lot more subtle. But I feel like Dorian's narcissism initially arose from Lord Henry planting the seed within him and his love towards Sibyl only catalysed his downfall, rather than being the cause of it. I feel like both texts could be linked in terms of the theme of omnipotence. Both Dorian and Gatsby have a strong desire to control time while Gatsby wishes to constantly live in the past in pursuit of the idea of Daisy while Dorian wishes to bring the effects of time to a halt and prevent ageing to preserve his beauty. Both Gray and Gatsby also exploit people for their own needs (another trait of narcissism) - Gatsby uses Nick in order to get closer to Daisy again, he has tunnel vision with his sole goal being winning Daisy over while similarly, Dorian several characters throughout his hedonistic lifestyle e.g. Sibyl, Alan Campbell, the several young men whose reputation he tarnishes, etc.

Your views on this would be much appreciated.
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