New Women In Only Yesterday By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1281 Words 6 Pages
Throughout the early 1900’s, women struggled with asserting themselves in a man’s world, but in the 1920’s an independent new women emerged causing controversy. Throughout The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald is criticizing the superficiality of the 1920’s “new women” by comparing Myrtle and Daisy; yet despite their differences Fitzgerald highlights the similarity in their desires. Fitzgerald contrasts Myrtle’s confidence in defying and cheating on her husband, with Daisy’s cautiousness around her own husband to show their differences. Yet, both Myrtle and Daisy allow Tom to control their emotions and actions. Fitzgerald is ultimately suggesting that there will be no true “new women” until women are able to detach their identities and worth …show more content…
Only Yesterday suggests to the reader that the twenties society believed that independence came from sex, provocative clothing, alcohol, etc. However in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald is arguing against the popular opinion, suggesting that the physical attributes hid dependent women. When describing independent women Lewis writes, “Supposedly ‘nice’ girls were smoking cigarettes…they were drinking”(Lewis 90), showing that the independent woman was seen as smoking and drinking. Lewis then continues to write that the independent woman “as lifted her skirt far beyond any modest limitation” (Lewis 89) showing that the independent women was not modest. Lewis fundamentally describes the independent woman as immodest and reckless, showing the reader that popular opinion associated a woman’s self reliance as reckless. The author’s use of concrete objects to determine whether a women is independent or new, shows the artificiality behind the new woman. In the Great Gatsby Fitzgerald uses Myrtle, and her tendency to smoke, sleep around and drink, to suggest that although she may act provocatively she is still attached to Tom. Hence, Fitzgerald used the Great Gatsby to disprove the prominent opinion, as discussed in Only Yesterday, that women were independent due to their ability to behave recklessly, instead showing …show more content…
Through Daisy, Fitzgerald suggests that the traditional women is unhappy and weak due to their lack of freedom, caused by their belief that independence is improper. Fitzgerald uses Myrtle’s infatuation with Tom to contrast her apparent independence yet shows that Myrtles reliability on Tom led to her death. Through his comparison of Myrtle and Daisy, Fitzgerald concludes that both the supposed new woman and traditional woman are unhappy and ill fated due to their lack of independence and reliability on men, and ultimately the true new women would not emerge until women could separate their worth from

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