During the past few decades, many different authors developed unique writing styles that have changed over the years. Many books from the past are similar to modern day books, but many have changed as well. The novel, The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald was set in the 1920s when World War One ended and the Jazz Age began to rise in the United States.
A book that was written more recently is, The Fifth Rule. This novel was written by Don Aker and was set in the 2000s in Toronto, Ontario where the novel talks about changing lifestyles. In these two novels, there are many differences that are very noticeable such as the differences between the narrators, the difference in goals that want to be achieved, and the differences between how Don Aker and F. Scott Fitzgerald decided to structure their novel.
Primarily, these two books are set in different places and time zones. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, the book was set in the 1920s in New York, United States. While, The Fifth Rule, was set in the 2000s in Toronto, Ontario. A difference between these novels are the narrators.
In The Great Gatsby, the narrator is an actual person and is named, Nick Carraway. This story is told from his point of view and how he sees everything, meaning this novel was written in first person. For instance, Nick said, “I was excited that I got into a taxi with him I didn’t hardly know I wasn’t getting into a subway train. All I kept thinking about, over and over, was ‘You can’t live forever; you can’t live forever'” (Fitzgerald, 36).
This quote demonstrates how Nick is the narrator of The Great Gatsby as he used the word “I” to express his own opinions and feelings. He is physically in the story and can judge and communicate. This means that he is a part of the story and not just a narrator. On the other hand, The Fifth Rule, was written in third person meaning that this novel does not present its story from a certain point of view, it is told from a neutral perspective. For example, the narration in The Fifth Rule goes like, “‘He’s got a girl’, explains Jimmy Franz.
‘And you,’ says Reef, turning to the sixteen-year-old. ‘You grew a foot!’ Jimmy grins.” (Aker, 21). In this quote, it shows how the novel is not written from a certain point of view, but from a narrator’s point of view. This is because no feelings or opinions were expressed throughout the narration, but only the list of actions and speeches that the characters said and did were spoken by the narrator. Therefore, a major difference between these two books are the narrations. Fitzgerald decided to write his novel in first person forcing the audience to read the novel and understand situations from Nick’s perspective.
While, Aker decided to write his novel from a third person view which does not force the readers to see from a certain view and are able to freely criticize based on their own opinion. Secondly, another difference between these two novels are the goals the characters try to achieve throughout the novel. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, characters would strive to reach and fulfill the American Dream. This dream consisted of being rich, wealthy, and having a great life filled with happiness. This is easily seen from Gatsby as he was born into a poor family, but he worked his way up to achieve his wealth and luxury. For example in chapter five, Gatsby said, “I keep it always full of interesting people, night and day.
People who do interesting things. Celebrated People” (Fitzgerald, 90). Gatsby explains to Daisy how he keeps his mansion occupied from day to night meaning that he throws parties often because he was the money to do so. Later on, in chapter six, Nick explained, “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people” (Fitzgerald, 98). This signifies that Gatsby was born from a poor family and he did not inherit any wealth. However, the characters in The Fifth Rule were not trying to obtain wealth or status, but were trying to improve their lifestyle and change their unhealthy mindset.
For instance, Reef said, “Frank had five rule: respect yourself, respect others, be accountable, honour your commitments, and do the right things. He taught us by example how to live by them” (Aker, 17). This quote illustrates how this person named Frank, Reef and his friends’ mentor had five rules they had to follow. They had to follow Frank’s rules in order for him to help them achieve the change they want.
If anyone broke a single rule they would be punished, but it was not a harmful punishment as it would break one of his own rules. These punishments would be boring and repetitive so that they would learn not to make the mistake again. Therefore, the goals that wanted to be achieved between these two novels are different. The characters in The Fifth Rule wanted to change who they are as they have done horrible deeds in the past.
While, in The Great Gatsby, Gatsby wanted to become wealthy and have a nice partner when he grew up. So at a young age, he fell in love with the wealthy lifestyle from seeing how nice it was to be rich. Finally, the last difference between these two novels are how the story was structured. Fitzgerald wrote the storyline for The Great Gatsby in a consistence manner as the story does not alternate between two events. Unlike The Great Gatsby, The Fifth Rule alternates between two events and does not convey its storyline consistently. An example of a consistence storyline is presented in The Great Gatsby as chapter five describes how Gatsby meets Daisy after five years.
He wanted to win her love by touring her around his mansion and expressing his wealth by displaying his luxurious things he owned. For example, Nick says, “He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray” (Fitzgerald, 92).
In chapter six, Nick talks about Gatsby’s past, where he came from, and how he is currently wealthy. For instance, Nick explained, “For over a year he had been beating his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam-digger and a salmon-fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed” (Fitzgerald, 98). This shows how Gatsby lived back then when he was younger as he was not born into a wealthy family.
However, in The Fifth Rule, chapter two introduces a new character named, Leeza. She foreshadows a future event that ends the chapter in a mysterious tone, but in chapter five the whole story changes as chapter five is funeral for Reef and his friends’ mentor. For instance, the novel said, “Reaching for a tissue in the drawer of her nightstand, she looks at her bedside clock, its red numbers floating in the darkness. 12:04.
and she can’t shake the feeling that this is more than macaroni, that something in her universe has shifted somehow” (Aker, 13). In chapter three, Reef and his friends are attending the funeral of their mentor and talking about how their mentor, Frank had done a lot to help them change. For example, in the novel it said, “‘Before then,’ Reef says, ‘I did drugs, trashed property, stole anything that wasn’t nailed down, mugged people, beat the sh –’ He catches himself, remembering all the times Frank worked on his language” (Aker, 16). Therefore, another difference between these two novels are how the storylines are written. The Fifth Rule alternates between two events, but later on in the novel both stories merge and come as one.
The Great Gatsby, stays consistence with its storyline and connected the previous chapter with the following chapter making the story easier to understand. In conclusion, these two novels have many differences between them as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Don Aker are two different types of writers. Their book consists of many different references that relate to their daily life during the time period they lived in. A difference between these two books are the perspectives.
In The Great Gatsby, Nick is the narrator of the novel and everything he sees and does is from his point of view. In The Fifth Rule, no specific character in the novel is the narrator. This novel is written in third person meaning that readers will read the novel in a neutral perspective and may criticize what they read based on their own opinion. Another difference between these two books are the goals that want to be achieved. In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby wanted to strive for the American Dream as he was born in a poor family and was attracted by the wealthy lifestyle when he was young.
While in The Fifth Rule, characters such as Reef and his friends wanted to begin a new lifestyle as they regret what they had done in the past. They wanted to change themselves as they felt guilty and so this lead to goal changes. The final difference between these two books are how they are structured. The Great Gatsby’s storyline was consistent and each chapter related to the previous chapter making it easier to under the novel. However, in The Fifth Rule, the storyline is not consistent and alternates back and forth between two events.
This makes it harder to understand the novel as connections need to be made. Therefore, these two novels have many differences between them such as the perspective of the novel, the goals that want to be achieved throughout the novel, and the structure of the novel.
- Aker, D. (2012). The fifth rule. Brantford, Ont.: W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library.
- Mizener, A. (1990). Fitzgerald. Milano: Milano. Dictionary.com.