Roles Of Women In The Great Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, is full of themes of wealth, love, and tragedy. Also during the time this book was written, women’s suffrage had begun, so women were taking their first steps towards equality with men. The three main women characters in the novel: Daisy Buchanan, Myrtle Wilson, and Jordan Baker, all have things in common but can be vastly different; they reflect the view of women in the early 20th century. The Great Gatsby portrays the characters Daisy, Myrtle, and Jordan as stereotypes of women during the 1920s, seen in their behavior, beliefs, and their ultimate fate.
The era’s “perfect woman”, Daisy Buchanan is a bubbly, conflicted woman whose choice is between two men: her husband, Tom Buchanan, and her
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At one of Gatsby’s parties, Nick notices the way that the women there are acting. He notices that women are laying their heads upon men’s shoulders in a “puppyish, convivial way,” that they were “swooning backwards” into their arms. The men seem to be treating them more as pretty objects as the way Nick describes this, and in the way he continues, noticing that these dancers were “knowing that some one would arrest their falls,” using them as some sort of protection. It seems as if these characters are just placeholders, they have no personalities whatsoever rather than to be little decorations in the background of Gatsby’s party. Even major female characters seem to be treated as blank placeholders by the other main characters, evidenced by when Gatsby is recuperating from when Daisy hit Myrtle with his car. He refers to her as “this woman” when he describes how she “rushed out at [them];” his attitude towards this person he just ran over was less than of her being a human being and more like she was some stray animal destined to be roadkill. Between these three characters, they are all part of a web that was the vision of women in the 1920s. In a particularly powerful interaction between Daisy, the typical, submissive, beautiful woman; and Jordan, the accomplished, defiant and trouble seeking woman; we see these two personas mingle on an extremely hot summer day. Daisy is whining and crying about how she sees no future in the unbelievable heat, showing her strong tendency for overreaction and her inability to see beyond now. Jordan, however, replies to her, saying to Daisy to not be “morbid” and that “life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”, showing her progressive

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