The Half Brothers By Elizabeth Gaskell and My Oedipus Complex By Frank O’Connor

The Half Brothers By Elizabeth Gaskell and My Oedipus Complex By Frank O’ConnorThese two stories are very different upon first glance. For exampleone is about a pair of half brothers set in Victorian times and theother is about a small child named Larry who thinks he’s a lot wiserthen he is. However, if you look deeper you can start to findsimilarities between the two. They have similar themes, and links canbe made between them.

A big difference between them is the titles. For example ‘The HalfBrothers’ is a very self evident title but ‘My Oedipus Complex’ is alittle more obscure. ‘My Oedipus Complex’ is ironic because althoughLarry does have a strong attachment to his mother it is anexaggeration to call it an Oedipus Complex. The title is almost as ifthe narrator is mocking himself. ‘The Half Brothers’ is indeed abouttwo half brothers.

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Another difference between the titles is that they make they readerreact in different ways. For example ‘My Oedipus Complex’ is anintriguing title whereas ‘The Half Brothers’ is simple and obvious.The reader would be more drawn towards ‘My Oedipus Complex’ becausethe word ‘Oedipus’ is unknown and the word ‘complex’ makes the storyseem interesting and almost mysterious. The title of “The HalfBrothers” wouldn’t catch the reader’s eye because it is boring and thewords are all familiar.

When looking at the general themes of the two stories it becomes clearthat they are very similar. For example both have the theme ofjealousy. In ‘The Half Brothers’ it is William Preston’s jealousy ofGregory and in ‘My Oedipus Complex’ it is Larry and his father’sjealousy of each other first and then of Sonny. In both stories it isjealousy of a mother’s love, …

…theending of ‘The Half Brothers’ makes the reader think, because of it’sregretful conclusion whereas the ending of ‘My Oedipus Complex’doesn’t give the reader a lot to ponder on as it is a simple happyending. This makes the stories suitable for different types of reader.If they want a light-hearted book ‘My Oedipus Complex’ is moresuitable but if they want a book that teaches them a lesson then theyshould choose ‘The Half Brothers’.

Overall I preferred ‘My Oedipus Complex’ to ‘The Half Brothers’. Thisis because it is set more recently and the language is easier tounderstand, I found it easier to relate to. Also it was humorous. ‘TheHalf Brothers’ also had good points such as it made me think and gaveme a greater understanding of Victorian language. ‘The Half Brothers’is a more educational story whereas ‘My Oedipus Complex’ is lightreading.


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