When discussing and comparing two highly acclaimed pieces of work, The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Television show, The Sopranos, written by David Chase are not what come to mind. Though Gatsby is a book that is set in the summer of 1922 on the North Shore and Sopranos is set in present time in New Jersey, they are very closely related in the story that is shown. In character, Jay Gatsby and Tony Soprano are very similar people, chasing the American dream but cutting corners with criminal activities.
Though they are both criminals, readers and viewers root for them because they are liked by many and also are somewhat mysterious to others. In addition, the setting of East vs. West is strikingly similar in Gatsby and Tony’s case with East and West Egg, and New Jersey and New York. The characters of Tony and Gatsby are very similar. Tony is the mob boss for the New Jersey family and is very well regarded by the people who work for him. In his line of business, Tony commits crimes and has also murdered.
He has ordered other men be murdered as well and to avoid arrests, he covers his tracks through elusive measures. Similarly, Gatsby is involved in illegal activities. He is a bootlegger who has made his fortune through the illegal sale of Alcohol. He deals with many other criminals who do the same thing. Once while in his car with a married woman, the car struck another woman, killing her instantly. Instead of coming clean about the act, Gatsby covered his tracks and avoided the situation. Common to each other, Gatsby and Tony have a lot of personal things to overcome.
In Gatsby’s case, he loves a woman who is married to another man, but she loves Gatsby too. At first, Gatsby and Daisy are instantly in love after years of being apart but once Gatsby learns that she also loves Tom, her husband, and Daisy finds out that Gatsby has made his money through illegal activities, the love is no longer as strong as it was, and eventually fades to nothing with Gatsby’s death, and Daisy’s lack of attendance at his funeral. In Tony’s case, he deals with a son who believes that he is depressed and can’t function in the world.
Also, Tony has his own set of problems that he attempts to deal with through talking with Psychiatrists but cannot seem to work through all of his difficulties. In both stories, location has a lot to do with the status and class of a person. In both Tony and Gatsby’s case, the difference between east and west has a huge impact on the social level of the character. In Gatsby’s case, East and West egg are the two sides in competition. East Egg is where the old money people live, who most likely haven’t earned their living, rather inherited it. East Egg is considered more elegant and proper while West Egg represents new money.
New money people are ones who have made it in their generation or possibly the last generation. In one way or another, they started with a lot less then they have now, but since they are the “new rich” the East Egg inhabitants do not consider them as high class. This has social impacts on the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy. Since Daisy lives with Tom Buchanan, a man who is a proud member of the East Egg community, she is a part of that community and no matter how much she tries, she cannot bring herself to go to a party of Gatsby’s even though she may love him dearly.
The thought of socializing with people who don’t belong to the same community as she does is unacceptable. In Tony’s case, the split is between New York and New Jersey. When a war breaks out between the two families, the divide is east and west, and Tony’s family is the main target of the New York family. The Lupertazzi family finds the assault on one of their own soldiers by Tony a threat or a sign of disrespect, so Phil, head of the Lupertazzi family, orders the hit on the top three men of the Soprano family, killing one, putting another in a coma, and failing to kill Tony.
The reason for Tony attacking one of the soldiers was he was harassing Meadow while she is on a date. It can be said that because the attack on the soldier was from a member of another family that it required such extreme violence, but it is definitely related to the fact that the two families occupy within close vicinity of each other and are fighting for territory. When one family imposes on another family’s turf, the only message that is sent is one that is very to the point. Finally, social climbers can never make it to the top; no matter how hard they try.
Even though people who work their entire life to become as rich as they possibly can, in most cases they fail to ever attain the richness and prosperity that the “old rich” have achieved just through living. Though this may not be the typical American Dream statement, in most cases the old rich stay rich and the new rich can never be as well regarded as the old. In Gatsby’s case, he makes all of his money through the illegal sale of alcohol. When Daisy first sees his wealth, she falls back in love with him.
Once Tom exposes Gatsby’s criminal background, Daisy can’t go on loving him because he did not earn his living honestly. Though Tom is not an honest person with his actions towards his wife and mistress, his wealth is true and there is a lot of it. By the end of the story, Gatsby is left dead and Tom continues to be married to Daisy despite cheating on her for many years. Though Tom has committed many more acts that are a question of character, he does not break the law and his status and an old money rich person allows him to skip along without drawing questions to himself.
In Tony’s case, he has worked his entire life in illegal activities to attain the American dream of having a huge house, expensive cars, and the boss of himself. This way of life is challenged by many other families because they want a piece of the American dream and the only way for that to happen is to control their area and people. For the mobsters, many of them end up being killed before they have the chance to settle down with the money that they have illegally earned and in Tony’s case, its possible that he dies too at the end of the final season.
With new rich people, such as any of the mobsters, attaining the American dream is ultimately impossible because they most likely end up dead from pursuing the dream. Tony and Gatsby are very alike in their lives because they are both new rich people. Though viewers and readers root for their survival and well being, they are criminals who participate in illegal activities that in any other case would be frowned upon. We root for them because they wish to conquer the American dream, but this pursuit leads to their downfall.