Goodbye Columbus


Sometimes there are two novels that have the same theme, and sometimes they have the same plot, but in the case of the two novels, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the novel Goodbye Columbus, by Philip Roth they explore the same dynamics of the chase of the American dream. In both novels there are similar themes, they both use the idea of sex and money as a form of power. Both novels can relate to each other because the authors decided to show how the pursuit of the American dream may not always be a good thing, and how sex and money can cause problems in that pursuit. Overall in both of the novels the reoccurring theme of sex, money and the search for the American dream is present and in both novels the authors show that just because it may seem like someone may have everything, that is not always the case. The idea of the new world verses the old world is a major premise in the novel Goodbye Columbus. In this novel there are two families who live very different lives. The Patimkin family, and the Klugman family. They represent the struggle between the new and old world. The Patimkin family is the wealthy middle-class family and they live in the hills, they also belong to the country club, which is a representation of having money and living the American dream. The idea of belonging to the country club is a major part of the novel. The country club gave the Patimkin?s a replica of middle class life in America. Since the Patimkin?s were Jewish they didn?t have the opportunity to belong to a regular country club, they belonged to the Jewish one, which is why it was the closest replica of the American dream to them, because they were not allowed to be part of the non-Jewish country clubs. The Patimikin?s represent the new world, they achieved higher success and they are able to identify with the non-Jewish part of middle class society a lot more then their fellow Jewish immigrants who have not fully assimilated to society. On the other side of the coin there is the Klugman family. They represent the old world. They live in the valley with the rest of the Jewish immigrants and they live meagerly because they do not have that much and they have not gained much success in their lives while living in the United States. The two characters that represent the old and new world are Brenda Patimkin and Neil Klugman. To Neil, Brenda represents what he does not have, money and status within the Jewish community. Her family can belong to the country club and they can afford to have nice things. Brenda also represents sex to Neil therefore she represents two of the major themes of the novel, sex and money. To Neil there are many differences in the Patimkin family that make them very different from his own. They are able to eat in the dining room instead of the kitchen. They have a maid that makes the meals and cleans up after them. They also have a refrigerator full of fruit that is always full. This is all the ideal life for Neil, and when you put Brenda in the mix you have Neil?s perfect world. If he could become part of the Patimkin family he would have sex, money and in essence the American dream. Those three ideas are also present in the novel The Great Gatsby. In this novel the two worlds are divided by old and new money, instead of the idea of assimilation to society after immigration. In this novel, where you live determines your wealth, just as it did in the novel Goodbye Columbus. In The Great Gatsby the idea of wealth representing power is the most prevalent aspect of the novel. The title character Jay Gatsby, is wealthy and he lives in the new money side of town. The love of his life is Daisy Buchannan, and she lives on the old money side of town. Their love is similar to that of Neil and Brenda. They are symbols of two different worlds, yet they find love, but in both of cases the love does not end happy. It is a sign that maybe what you think is