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Literature and Media Comparative Essay

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Literature and Media Comparative Essay

Myrtle’s Death Scene

The novel The Great Gatsby, written by  F. Scott Fitzgerald is a classic book, based in the 1920s during the ‘Jazz Age’. The Great Gatsby is about an extravagant millionaire, Jay Gatsby and his journey to win back the love of his life. In the Great Gatsby, the narrator, Nick Carraway portrays Gatsby’s journey. The novel was shortly turned into a film. There are two versions of the film, an older one featuring Robert Redford as ‘Jay Gatsby’ and Mia Farrow as ‘Daisy Buchanan’. The most recent version features Leonardo DiCaprio as ‘Jay Gatsby’ and Claire Mulligan as ‘Daisy Buchanan’. The film and the novel have many similarities and differences within it. A scene that is presented both in the novel and the film is Myrtles Death Scene. Although this scene is portrayed in both the book and film there are many differences and similarities between the novel version and the film version.

In the novel, at the beginning of the death scene when Daisy and Jay were on their way back from the city, it is mentioned in the novel that George was talking to Michaelis about having “my wife [Myrtle] locked in up there”. Conversely in the film, the conversation between George and Michaelis is not shown and George does not tell anyone that Myrtle is locked in their house. However, it is shown in both the novel and the film that Myrtle and George were having a headed argument. As a “violent racket broke out” it was shown in the film where Myrtle was pushed up against the window by George and in the novel as he is speaking to Michaelis. George yells at Myrtle saying, “You may fool me, but you don’t fool God. God sees everything”. In the novel this is not portrayed in any way besides that they were having a heated argument. After the argument had somewhat calmed down, Myrtle was still being held up against the window but then she strikes George against the face and runs away. This is shown scene is not portrayed in the novel but it is shown in the film. A close up shot is used when Myrtle is pushed up against the window to emphasize the pain and distress she is feeling at this moment in time. In this scene within the film, you can also see how scared Myrtle is, because George is screaming “where did you get these [pearls] from” while grasping her necklace. This scene is shown in the film but not in the novel. A similar scene is depicted in the book but not the film, which is the collar scene. George finds a fancy collar and questions who it belongs to.

Baz Luhrmann’s adaption of The Great Gatsby was close because it had many similarities but also many differences. In the death scene of Myrtle Wilson there were many differences from the novel and from the film. In the film, it shows that Myrtle is running as fast as she can down the stairs when she sees Toms car but in the film,  it does not mention that she goes down the stairs. Myrtle runs onto the road and screams out “Tom, Tom, I need you to stop” whereas in the novel, “she rushed out into the dusk, waving her hands and shouting”. This is a similarity within the novel and film because this scene is portrayed in both. In the film, when Myrtle escapes from her husband’s graft, the song ‘Love is Blindness’ plays. This song was played because it shows the irony. The title of the song is ‘Love is Blindness’ as in love can alter the way things are seen. Myrtle running out to a car that she thinks is her lover shows the irony because she has a husband at home that also loves her. This scene is obviously not shown in the novel as Fitzgerald’s words cannot be captured through images and sound. The song is non-diegetic sound because as the audience can hear the music, the actors and cannot hear it. The music emphasises the scene when Myrtle is hit by the car because it blends in well with all of the diegetic noise.  

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