Feminist Criticism In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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In The Great Gatsby, Tom Buchanan is cheating on his wife, Daisy with his mistress Myrtle. In the relationship, Myrtle uses her sexuality to attract Tom and he abuses her by breaking her nose. A reader today with a Marxist and a reader with a feminist perspective may interpret their relationship differently.
Marxist literary criticism focuses on the struggle between the lower and upper class and the issues of power and money in literature. Readers with this point of view would perhaps look for the oppression of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. As well as looking at the commodification of people, where people are treated as commodities. They might also focus on how social classes are represented and how they interact or conflict. Feminist
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From a Marxist point of view, Tom and Daisy’s marriage is there to keep up their social status, not for love. Perhaps Tom is taking a mistress because he has a desire to be in charge of their relationship as Myrtle looks up to him and needs him. Their affair might also make Tom feel like his is above the law. Tom’s commodification of Myrtle allows him to get sex through controlling her and treating her as a commodity. Tom leads Myrtle on, making her believe he might marry her, this gives Tom the control he wants. Tom already has power, wealth and money, but he is not satisfied, so this is also perhaps why he takes a mistress, so that he can fulfil his American Dream of having everything he wants. This can perhaps show how corrupt the American Dream is.
A reader with a feminist perspective may focus on the fact that it is more acceptable for Tom to have an affair, than for Myrtle and Daisy. "I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if that's the idea you can count me out”, Tom says. Tom feels like a victim because Gatsby, is having an affair with Daisy, even though he takes mistresses himself. This statement is hypocritical because Tom is cheating on Daisy with Myrtle. Tom shows Myrtle off in public, while he resents Daisy being with
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She might think that her only option is to give her body to Tom. Myrtle wants Tom to divorce Daisy, so that they can marry and she can have access to his wealth, satisfy her materialistic needs and improve her own social status. Myrtle believes that by associating with Tom and have him buy her expensive things, she is rising in class. Myrtle’s perception of the American Dream leads to her demise.
To conclude, both the Marxist and the feminist perspective focus on power struggle between Myrtle and Tom. Myrtle’s death shows the unequal society in the 1920s, as Tom and Daisy are allowed to continue on with their lives without any consequences. Both perspectives focus on that the American dream makes people want to be apart of the upper class and live an excessive life. The novel also shows that the American dream is unachievable and corrupt as it focuses on materialistic values and social

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