In both novels alienation of the main characters is caused by external factors such as war time and economic instability. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzerald depicts hat for the preceding two generations there had been a feeling that civilization was at last outgrowing war. At the same time philosophers like Gatsby yearned for the nobility and self-sacrifice that they believed war produced. Fitzgerald describes:
He did extraordinarily well in the war. He was a captain before he went to the front and following the Argonne battles he got his majority and the command of the divisional machine guns (Fitzgerald 2006).
In contrast to Gatsby, Grigoriy Pechorin is still an army officer influenced by the Caucasian war. Lermontov depicts events, experience, time, memories through the eyes of Grigoriy Pechorin who differs from other characters. He is emotionally distant and depressed but this isolation is caused by boredom of war and military service. Lermontov describes the duel:
Whichever of you is killed -- his death will be put down to the account of the Circassians. That is something like murder, but in time of war, and especially in Asiatic warfare, such tricks are allowed (Lermontov 1997).
These events and attitude towards life is the last authority for both characters, and readers can oppose or compare the narrator's point of view with remarks and ideas of the main characters, and their own. Fitzgerald and Lermontov portray ideal world and idealized characters but they vividly disillusionment and isolation caused by war and military operations. It was a grisly, pointless carnage that had no relation to the romantic conceptions of war common before the war began. The reaction of most Americans to this situation was understandably cynical. Many intellectuals held the conviction that the hypocritical false idealism and loose thinking of an older generation had caused the war. The main difference is that economic reactions have a great impact on Gatsby and his isolation from the society but do not have a crucial impact on the character of Pechorin. The misery that came with the Depression changed people's attitudes. They resented the rich more than they had before, and blamed the rich for the Depression.
Unrequited love and strong romantic feelings cause alienation and isolation of both characters from the society. It seems that Pechorin and Gatsby isolated themselves on purpose to avoid emotional sufferings and distress. On the other hand, this isolation and alienation only intensify their depression and emotional sufferings. Gatsby worships Daisy, and his whole illicit career is an attempt to recapture Daisy. "Daisy tumbled short of his dreams-not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion" (Fitzgerald 2006). He is carried along by her beautiful, hypnotic voice, but when she finishes, he feels that she has cheated him. Gatsby's inability to repeat the past is much more than the failure of an experience in romantic love, because for Gatsby that love is the essence of his powerful desire for a vaguely defined, selffulfilling greatness. Gatsby's version of the American Dream is specific about only two things: money and Daisy. The dream is