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"I Can't Help What's Past!": Mourning and Melancholia in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
Högskolan Väst, Institutionen för individ och samhälle, Avd för utbildningsvetenskap och språk.
2018 (engelsk)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 poäng / 15 hpOppgave
Abstract [en]

The aim of this essay is to present Nick's, Gatsby's and Daisy's relations to their pasts, as they have the strongest connections to their previous history. In particular focus will be on what constitutes their losses from a psychoanalytic perspective, and the Freudian framework of mourning and melancholia will be applied. In his work from 1917, Freud claimed that both mourning and melancholia are responses to loss. However, mourning is seen as the healthy and conscious response to loss, whereas melancholia is a pathological and paralyzing response. Therefore, I interpret the novel as an exploration of how the different attitudes towards loss affect the main characters and their relation to the future.

As this essay will show, both Nick and Daisy display mourning, in contrast to Gatsby who represents the more pathological state of melancholia. This results in Gatsby's unwillingness to let go of the past, and causes his obsession with having it repeated. Nick and Daisy, on the other hand, have an awareness of their losses, which eventually leads to an acceptance and therefore detachment from what they have lost.

In Chapter One, a few of the critical readings of the novel that are relevant for the essay will be summarized, as well as a deeper explanation of Freud’s framework and his theory regarding mourning and melancholia. An introduction to the Lost Generation will also be provided, together with modernism and the American Dream, as they deepen the understanding for the novel’s historical and societal context and connect with the themes of loss, mourning and melancholia.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2018. , s. 30
Emneord [en]
Literature studies, psychoanalytics
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-12503Lokal ID: EON200OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-12503DiVA, id: diva2:1220582
Fag / kurs
English
Examiner
Tilgjengelig fra: 2018-06-26 Laget: 2018-06-19 Sist oppdatert: 2018-06-26bibliografisk kontrollert

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