Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, and Ethan Frome were books written by three different authors and may have seemed completely different. The main characters of these books, Huck Finn, Ethan Frome, and Jay Gatsby, appeared to be three distinct persons, but in one aspect or another came together as one. Love and communication served to bring these three characters together and, along with social order, also set them apart. Huck, Ethan, and Jay showed their similarities and differences through their actions and dialogue.
Love was an aspect shared by many characters in a wide variety of novels, but none other than Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Each of these novels’ main characters showed a deep emotional bond with another character.Huck Finn’s relationship with Jim was somewhat strange, but nevertheless was strong. Jim was a runaway slave and Huck thought that it was a sin to help a runaway slave. Despite his religious beliefs, Huck knew that he was “the best friend old Jim ever had, and the only one he’s got now.” He knew that by helping Jim he “will go to hell,” but took this risk and followed his own morality. Love was also shared between two characters in Ethan Frome. The love shared in this novel was different from the love in Huckleberry Finn, for Ethan’s love was of sexual nature. Ethan Frome was married to Zenobia Frome who suffered from illness during the later stages of her life. Zeena’s young cousin, Mattie Silver, was hired to relieve Zeena of her household duties. Ethan was attracted to Mattie because she was the antithesis of Zeena. While Mattie was young, happy, healthy, and beautiful like the summer, Zeena was seven years older than Ethan, bitter, ugly, and sickly cold like the winter. Zeena had always had her way and wished to get rid of Mattie, fearing the relationship between Mattie and Ethan. Ethan for the first time totally defied his wife and took Mattie’s defense by saying, “You can’t go Matt! I won’t let you! She’s always had her way, but I mean to have mine now.” Another type of love was the love of possessions, which was clearly evident in the novel The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby tried to capture his dream by trying to get his past love to fall in love with him again. Gatsby attempted to get Daisy to fall in love with him again by amassing a great wealth. He purchased a mansion “bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the Bay,” He also threw extravagant parties hoping that Daisy might attend one.
Communication was important in any relationship, and Huck, Jay, and Ethan all communicated within their relationships. The way these characters communicated had its similarities and differences.They lied sometimes to get what they wanted, and this was clearly evident with Huck Finn. Usually, Huck got himself up “stumps” and had to lie to get down from them. On one occasion while at dinner, Huck saw that he “was up a stump. (He) had to let on to get choked on a chicken bone, so as to get time to think how to get down again.” Huck also often relied on “Providence” and “went right along, not fixing any plan, but just trusting Providence to put the right words in my mouth when the time come.” Huck did not lie to Jim, whom he had a deep relationship with, and trusted Jim not to lie to him. Ethan Frome did not lie as much as Huck, but when he did lie, it made significance. He had never lied outright to Zeena and “as soon as the words were spoken he regretted them, not only because they were untrue, but also because he knew from experience the imprudence of letting Zeena think he was in funds on the eve of one of her therapeutic excursions.” He took the risk of lying to Zeena just to have one night alone with Mattie. Ethan and Zeena’s relationship was one of silence, while his relationship with Mattie was joyous, as they shared their thoughts and feelings towards each other. Unlike Huck and Ethan, Jay lied to protect the one that he loved most. He was convinced that Daisy still loved him even after Daisy killed Myrtle. In order to protect Daisy, he told Nick Carraway, “Yes….But of course I’ll say I was (driving).” Gatsby also lied to Nick about his past and his family so that Nick would help him in his pursuit of Daisy.
Social class was one aspect that distinguished all three characters from one another. Huck remained at the very bottom of the social ladder. He had no one or nothing to fall back on. Despite his lack of money, Huck enjoyed his life and was the happiest out of Ethan, Jay, and himself. Huck did not want to be “so cramped up and sivilized, as they call it,” but lived his life like an adventurous float down a river. Ethan Frome was stuck in the middle of the social class. He lived in “one of those lonely New England farm-houses that make the landscape lonelier” and owned a sawmill a couple of miles away. Frome was also content with his social status and only wanted to change his position in his love life. Jay Gatsby was at the top of the social ladder. He had acquired all of his wealth in pursuit of his own fantasy, getting Daisy to love him. To get this wealth, he associated with known criminals such as Myer Wolfsheim, appeared to be involved with bootlegging, and was rumored to have killed a man. Gatsby was not satisfied with his material possessions and was never really satisfied without Daisy.
These three characters all shared common bonds, but were different at times. Love and communication were what brought these three characters together, and along with social order, were what set them apart. Huck, Ethan, and Jay were like most characters in that they were in a constant search for happiness. Searching for happiness was what brought these three characters together, but whether that can be achieved by money, love, or adventure was what set them apart.