Gender Norms In The Great Gatsby

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Society’s norms for how people behave based on their gender have changed over the years. Conforming to these norms often make one feel accepted by society, while being one’s own self could lead them to become an outcast. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays how these gender norms affect whether one leans towards self-happiness or acceptance. Set in the 1920s in the area around New York City, Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, relays his entanglement in the affair between his second cousin once removed, Daisy Buchanan, and his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Daisy, a married woman with a child, experiments with love elsewhere, turning to her past lover, Gatsby, in a time when women were supposed to be obedient, pure, and virtuous.…show more content…
When Nick gets invited to Daisy’s house, Daisy and her husband, Tom, try to arrange a marriage between Nick and Daisy’s childhood friend, Jordan Baker. When talking about Jordan, Tom inserts his opinion about her actions, saying her family “oughtn’t to let her run around the country this way… Besides, Nick's going to look after her, aren't you, Nick?… I think the home influence will be very good for her’” (23). By saying that her family should not let her run around the country, Tom expresses his belief that women should be taken care of by their family, until they get married, retaining their purity and limiting their freedom as they are passed down from father to husband. This belief is also seen in how he implies that Nick should look after her, as if women should be kept under control and can not do anything for themselves outside of the home. He thinks that Jordan is getting too much freedom and believes that she should be reined in and taught not to be herself. As he says this, he is talking behind Jordan’s back disdainfully, portraying the contempt by society for not acting as one would expect. As this is said by Tom, the epitome of what a man should be, Fitzgerald successfully conveys the stereotypes of women at the time. The stereotypes he reveals disclose the captivity that women face when obeying those gender norms. They trap women within the house, bind them to their family or husband, and restrict their freedom. When escaping those stereotypes that hold them back, women are freed, allowing them to be themselves - something that brings happiness - but are often condemned by society. Fitzgerald introduces Daisy’s past lover to her, renewing their relationship, demonstrating the impact that not following the rules of society brings. When Nick comes back after arranging a meeting between Gatsby and Daisy, he remarks on

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