Isolation in American Literature Analytical Essay by writingsensation

An analysis of the theme of isolation within three classic American novels: "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and J. Alfred Prufrock's "The Love Song".
# 67897 | 3,000 words | 4 sources | APA | 2006 | US
Published on Jul 23, 2006 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper analyzes the novels "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and J. Alfred Prufrock's "The Love Song", focusing on the theme of isolation in America. The author explains that each of these three novels, in their own way, addresses how America is the land of freedom and open spaces, of boundless dreams and opportunities, but is also the land of "keeping up with the Joneses" and distances too vast to be bridged by mere mortals. The paper shows that, while the causes and the results are different in each book, isolation remains a motivating factor and determinant of individual characters' destiny. The paper begins with an assessment of "The Grapes of Wrath", demonstrating how it deals with isolation in its broadest sense - the isolation of one individual from the rest of humanity. Then the paper discusses "The Great Gatsby", which addresses the breaking apart of humanity on a much more individual level. The most isolating experience is depicted in "The Love Song", the paper concludes, which depicts the isolation experienced by every modern day individual.

From the Paper:

"Though T.S. Eliot treats us to an image of movement, and change, the metaphor he gives us is that of a "patient etherized on a table." Immediately, we have the sense that all of those wanderings are the stuff of dreams and fantasy. It is as if we are privy to the goings-on inside Alfred J. Prufrock's head. Symbolic of the intense isolation experienced by modern men and women is also the fact that, in those same lines, nothing without ourselves is ever distinctly heard or observed. We hear "mutterings," and see few people on the streets. The "one-night hotels" speak of transience, and of pleasures taken on the sly. Prostitutes are frequently associated with such places. Does Prufrock mean to infer that all the pleasures of the modern age are no better than the mercenary delights offered by a prostitute? Do we purchase even our own happiness? Nor must one forget the isolation of the prostitute. She is isolated from "good society." She is also isolated from her customers, many of whom she will never really know, and probably never see again. Those who patronize her, too, engage in a thoroughly anonymous experience."

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Isolation in American Literature (2006, July 23) Retrieved January 27, 2022, from

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"Isolation in American Literature" 23 July 2006. Web. 27 January. 2022. <>