Significance Of Sickness In The Great Gatsby

1510 Words7 Pages

Symptoms of a Greater Sickness While classic literature may be an abundant source of philosophical reflection and rich moral analysis, it severely lacks representational diversity which renders these insights irrelevant to modern culture. These assertions cannot be classified as universal because the environment in which they are constructed is not demographically-proportional to society. Additionally, further examination of certain literary pieces reveal that rather than failing to reflect a diversified society, they systematically reject this diversification, whether that be in regards to gender, ethnicity, nationality, or sexuality. This bigotry is perpetuated in texts such as The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and The Great Gatsby …show more content…

In The Great Gatsby, Myrtle is the mistress of Tom Buchanan. The novel provides a very limited scope of her life and motivations. The only time she is ever even mentioned is when she serves as a catalyst for Tom’s emotional angst. When Nick Carraway is first introduced to her, one of his first observations is that she was “faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can” (Fitzgerald 28). This sort of objectification truly sets the tone for her character arc. While nothing is inherently wrong with Fitzgerald’s choice to depict her as a sensuous women, the problem stems from his tendency to only characterize her as so. Stereotyping is harmful to the female identity and how women are perceived in society, which is why The Great Gatsby is a prime example of sexism amongst classic literature. Daisy and Gatsby later kill Myrtle after accidentally running her over with their car. Even though she has family, a sister who was mentioned earlier in the book, Fitzgerald chose to focus on her husband’s discovery that “Myrtle had some sort of life apart from him in another world and the shock had made him physically sick” (Fitzgerald 132). Her husband’s reaction to being cuckolded and Tom’s reaction to losing his mistress, which is later mentioned in the novel as well, is given more precedence than the death of Myrtle herself. Her death is not about her, essentially; it is about the repercussions it causes for the men around her. Additionally, the language Fitzgerald employs in his description of George Wilson’s emotional breakdown is very unsettling. The implications of him becoming physically ill at the thought that his wife could wield her own autonomy speaks to how men disregard female agency in the

Open Document