Ulysses Everett McGill and Charlie Wales: Getting it Together?
A discussion of the similarities and differences between Ulysses Everett McGill, the main character of the Coen Brothers' film "O Brother Where Art Thou?" and Charlie Wales, the main character of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Babylon Revisited".
# 6445 | 1,640 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2002 |
Published on Feb 08, 2003 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis) , Film (Analysis, Criticism, Etc.)
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This essay compares and contrasts the main characters of the film 'O Brother Where Art Thou?' written and directed by the Coen brothers and the short story 'Babylon Revisited' by F. Scott Fitzgerald, also made into a film. What seems at first an unlikely comparison turns out to be revealing. Ulysses Everett McGill and Charlie Wales are from vastly different backgrounds and social strata yet face similar dilemmas. Wales the wealthy socialite would seem more likely to succeed in his case to retrieve his daughter and get his life together. However, it is the escaped convict McGill, whose Ulysses-like Odyssey is discussed in depth, who succeeds in his quest, while the "recovering" alcoholic Wales is frustrated and delayed.
From the Paper:"Ulysses Everett McGill, the central character in the film, O Brother Where Art Thou? produced in 2000, and Charlie Wales, the main character in the F. Scott Fizgerald story, "Babylon Revisited," published in 1931, and made into a movie in 1954, may at first glance appear to be vastly different, but turn out to share similarities. Ulysses Everett McGill and Charlie Wales are from vastly different classes and backgrounds, yet both live in approximately the same time period, the 1920s/30s, the time of the Great Depression and both are men deprived of wife and family. Neither one is exactly the ordinary man surviving under the duress of the depression. McGill is a crude and lowly escaped convict fleeing through the Bible belt, while the sophisticated Wales, who still seems to have plenty of money and social status despite the crash, is visiting Paris. Both want to get their lives back into some semblance of togetherness. Each seems to be continually sabotaged in his quest. As we watch both men we wonder if the destructive energy comes from outside or is inner generated. The resemblances are many, but the differences are greater, especially when it comes to the end results of their attempts to get it together."
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