During these novels it can be seen how important is the background in there, whether historical background and social one were deeply connected in the way the plot was developed, creating contrast and reflection about that current time in both stories. Besides, even they were written in different years they are a critical informers about the lack of moral in the American society in the 20’s and in the other hand, the economical situation in Latin-America -specifically in South America -; the poverty that took part during the 50’s and in some way also modified thinking and performance of that society.
In a very short review, The Motorcycle Diaries tells the trip of two friends the 29 years old Alberto Granado and the main and later revolutionary character the 23 years old Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, both university students of medicine that travel from Argentina to Venezuela, go passing from Chile, Peru and Colombia.
Here the criticism of the social injustices of exploited mine workers; persecuted communists, ostracized lepers, and the tattered descendants of a once-great Incan civilization are the main themes of the novel.
Opposite to The Motorcycle Diaries, The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, tells the story of Jay Gatsby, the Buchanan Family and Nick Carraway, the narrator of the story. The novel shows how the American society of the 20’s – recreated in the New York city – was unwrapped in an environment of luxury, individualism, shallowness and appearances, all reflected in each of the characters in the plot of the book and at the same time are part of what Fitzgerald always idolized and wanted to get for himself.
However, it is very important to remember that both stories were written in order to show to the reader deep situations that Fitzgerald like Guevara were involved with, trying to face them and leave a moral maybe.
According to ‘Che’ Guevara this trip was not only another experience gained during youth but also made of him another completely person; in his spirit:
“The person who recognizes and polishes them, “me, is no longer”, at least I’m not the person once was (â€¦). Our America with a capital A, has changed me more than I thought” (Page 16).
But what are the experiences that made of him a totally different person, as it was mentioned previously, the poverty of this continent, the one of he belonged and the political practices far away of the real needs of people changed his view of the life.
According to Guevara the hospitality of Chile – “…To meet in Chile means invite (to a house)â€¦” page 101 – because in contrast with Argentina, Chile did not suffer the mix-up between Creoles and the Saxons that lived in the south in that country: creoles and Indians lived together in distances of each others. The lack of opportunities that Chilean people had for having a better life style was reflected and also how the community, reflection of society in general, disapproved the other people conditions coexisting in that way a kind of a mutual bitterness between the people who is a little bit better than the other one who lived in bad conditions, and the ones who are under the “standard” level of quality of life between the other people over their living conditions whose reproach them:
“and become a purely negative factor in the struggle for life, and consequently, a bitterness for healthy members of the community who resent their illness as if it were a personal insult to those who have to support them.” (Page 70)
Continuing in Chile and according to different issues that took part in the stay in this country; specifically in Valparaiso, they could find lots of social problems that the established government during that time did not solve, like the overcrowding and the almost inexistence of economical help for the community exposed in the following mention:
“is time that politicians and put less effort wasting time in the goddesses of their propaganda and more money, ( ), for solving the work in social profits.” (Page 72).
Moving forward in the story, the corruption, deceive, and the naivety of police and common citizens were involved each other. Moreover, placed in the North of Chile, Chuquicamata, they met a couple in the desert night who were communist, and where the men told them about the time he was in jail due to his political tendency; while the woman, his wife, followed him leaving their child with someone else until they got some money. This situation was particularly hard and sad for both Alberto and ‘Che’ Guevara; for the last one added:
“(The couple) was the living image of proletariat in any place around the world” (page 77)
and according to Guevara’s words being communist was considered like a sin while. That spirit produced the long for something better in the future, at least that was what the couple expected to get at the end, but is it worth putting your life in risk, in a work place where you can get a pulmonary disease and even dye, an leaving somebody’s children alone just because of dreams?
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At this moment; at the beginning of the end, Granado and Guevara leave Chile for going on with their objectives at the north of this continent; and something else, even this is the goodbye of this long and narrow country Guevara keeps talking about the social differences evidenced and experienced by them and most of all, how the more powerful people in the history of this country, and in most of the countries for sure, applied his vigour over the rest of the common people immortalized in:
“the act of Valdivia represents the never deny effort of the men for achieving a place where to exert his irrefutable authority” (page 85).
Finally, some reflections written tell now the social situation of Chile, like he said in the whole South America and even worse. First of all the lack of awareness of health in everywhere, streets, hospitals and also in Chile existed low opportunities for working and the people; thereby, Chile showed a lower quality of life than Argentina, and no mattering those previous features of this isolated country, the life can be easily carry in the way people work hard and, of course, they do not belong to the communist party.
While they were in Peru they could experienced that most of Peruvians believed that Argentina was like the land in which people’s dreams were made come true, and not only Peron was great but also Evita (Peron’s wife), where everything was good just because the “Indians” were not punished by the white man.
Guevara’s life, consciously or unconsciously, went around the pursuit of social justice, corruption and democracy. Since they started their journey and specifically when they arrived in Chile they were focused in different issues that embodied those moral behaviour in people and in the particular idiosyncrasy due to, nevertheless they went all over Chile, they could identified the cultural characteristics between southern and the more north people.
And being in Peru they could be aware about their same life philosophy and ideals. However, some believes of those friends were not jut part or applicable in hierarchical relationships but also in the more typical important ones; between the community itself.
“When we kept on the route, the old Indian took off from his clothes a very appetizing corn and he offered it to us. Quickly we realized that he democratically divided into the same share out of the corn.” (Page 115).
In the same way, the emphasis of people who had been fired because of their political thinking, it is also an issue that must be not only for reader be aware of that but also Ernesto Guevara as itself and most of all to understand what was happening on that time; oppression against who were apposite to the government believes. Those situations were reflected in the couple of Chuquicamata and Puno a Peruvian indigenous who was expelled of the government due to the already mentioned facts. Summary from this fragment can be assumable during that decade South America was overwhelmed by the power of its leaders.
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Moreover, Puno’s words reflected about that current situation between the conqueror who have the nation and the forced ones who were trying to do their best in order to obtain what belongs(ed) to them; however, Guevara had interpreted those words like offensive to the Inca people: to themselves, so at that moment more than a potential Marxist ‘el Che’ seemed an anarchist; against everything and everyone that subjugated to other, the Incas in this opportunity. At this moment, Guevara showed himself like a critical thinking person and at the same time a ‘dreamer’ with clear aims for his life and for the other too.
The ‘Great Gatsby’ , like The Motorcycle Diaries, presented in its plot a social issue during the 20’s, placed in America the story moved through the high society.
The lack of values like honesty, friendship, loyalty, love, among many others is present into those people’s hearts. The well known ‘American dream’ evoked the worst part of people for both the upper class and the recent one. But this is not just a fiction – and successful – story; whereby, the story itself was yet the reproduction of that society involved in individualism and shallowness. Therefore, that reality was embodied by Fitzgerald in this book.
Throughout the story a big number of themes can be deeper developed. Every character is different to the other but all of them share the same behaviour, laying each other, being aware of appearances, and making the other pay for their own mistakes.
Finally, whereas Gay Gatsby, the main character of the novel, it is important to focus on his personality and his life was developing since he worked to the rich man and then when he met Daisy and the goals in his life made them strong. After that, during the reunion with Daisy he showed for once one hundred percent honest and that proved the power of his dreams, which they came true partly but consequently, made of him a totally different person, ostentatious, layer and criminal and finally triggered his dead.
For concluding, both novels are recognized by the whole globe, like inb Time Magazine on June the 14th of 1928 (page 5) due to his relation with the historical and social context in which both were written. The Motorcycle Diaries novel revealed the poverty in Latin American and in the other hand The Great Gatsby reflect the high American society before the ‘Black Thursday’ in which the American dream was the symbolic icon of this society. Thereupon, some reflection can be drawing assuming that no matter how much money somebody have do not define what people are and there is plenty of evidence for that when Guevara told about the poor economical development in Latin America, however, he and Alberto could did their trip because the people’s help in most of the places they arrived. Opposite to that reality, America’s financial situation seemed good as well as the comfortable life for Americans, but if Guevara and company had decided do their journey to America they would certainly had to give up to that odyssey, because people were not as generous as the one in the South.
Expression totally opposite can be contrasted quickly, in order to understand the huge and deep feelings and thinking that separates our main characters. Expressions like proletariat and bourgeois – page 125 – can be easily found in the Latin American novel and that represented the social – communist tendency of the writer. But in accordance to the social context of Fitzgerald novel, we can find lots of quotations which named luxury, fashionable, exuberant, money, and so on. So it can be easily to reader identify the environment in which this two celebrated plays were written.
But as it was mentioned before, is it worth leave important thing away from you just for getting a dream?, or not just ‘things’ but also people like leave your children them suffering in a place instead leave your dreams that make them suffering in a place where their dreams did not care at all. The best examples for each ones are the life in Valparaiso and Chuquica-mata. Or putted it in another way, is it worth to fight for a dream that maybe never would become real, until putting your life in danger, like Gay Gatsby did it with not worthwhile people like Daisy; and most of all, the characterization in Great Expectations suggests that money causes people unconsciously to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. Here you can reflect by yourself.
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