Constructed identities A Chronotopic reading of The Great Gatsby, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, and Mad Men
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This thesis aims to explore how the past figures in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925), Sloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1955), and in the AMC series Mad Men (2007-2015), written by Matthew Weiner. Focusing on the main protagonists in these works, namely Jay Gatsby, Thomas Rath, and Donald Draper, this thesis examines how the past makes itself valid in these characters' present lives and how it arguably affects their future lives. In doing so, I will make use of the Russian philosopher Mikhail M. Bakhtin's theory of literary chronotopes, as these allow for an approach towards the interconnection of time and space in the respective works. The chronotopic reading allows for an understanding of how the narratives of these works are constructed, and how this in turn constructs the characters and their paths of life. The characters share a background of influential and formative incidents and experiences which to varying degrees have determined their lives in the present, and which will continue to determine their future paths. Additionally, the suburban setting of the three works, as well as their proximity in temporal setting, provide for a common backdrop against which the time- space continuum will be investigated.