The Female Characters In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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The Female Characters in The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a historical novel. The author employs a narrator, Nick Carraway, to allow insight into the upper class society of New York during the early 1920s. Socially, women enjoyed enormous changes during this era as hemlines shortened replacing long skirts and corsets, hair was bobbed to resemble a more masculine style, and women attained the right to vote. Women, predictably, responded in a variety of ways to these changes: some continued to exist only in their relation to men, and some manipulated the changes to their own advantage. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses his three main female characters, Daisy, Jordan, and Myrtle, to reflect women 's position in society during
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However, Daisy’s character is static, nonetheless, and she is portrayed as egotistical, shallow, and pernicious. Sarah Beebe Fryer notes ”Nick describes Daisy in terms of gaiety, restlessness, fear, artificiality” (Fryer 155). Daisy symbolizes the alluring American dream: tempting, full of hope and promise, but ultimately, hollow. Gatsby views Daisy as a nice girl, but mistakenly equates goodness with the upper class. In reality, Daisy acts abominably. Her “voice of money” represents Gatsby’s dream to ascend the social ladder like Myrtle, despite the fact that Fitzgerald’s upper society is corrupt, adulterous, and void of human emotion (Fitzgerald 120). As Paul Levitt states “virtually every character is unfaithful” (Levitt 3). Daisy is bored with her purposeless life and remains in her financially secure marriage despite her husband’s blatant disrespect of her in openly entertaining a mistress. Daisy, herself, maintains an adulterous relationship with Gatsby, yet never commits to leaving the shelter of money and power her husband so amply provides. Fitzgerald further augments this theme by showing the …show more content…
She thoroughly displays uniformity throughout the story and remains drearily soporific. Her main function is to support the character of Daisy. This becomes evident in the introductory scene of these two female characters as Nick describes them displayed together on a “completely stationary” sofa with Jordan being “completely motionless” (Fitzgerald 8). The first word she proclaims is followed by a yawn as if to mitigate any sense of reversal of her assigned role. Jordan and Daisy, both, are bored and removed from any resemblance of reality while cocooned in their upper class ‘egg’. Jordan, nonetheless, is a successful professional golfer: a sport traditionally dominated by males. Even her name, Jordan, cannot be clearly identified as female. Her physical characteristics of “a slender, small-breasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet” are clearly male (Fitzgerald 11). In order to be the financially independent, morally liberated sports woman she is, Jordan emulates the behaviors she observes from the men who encompass her world: lying, cheating, and engaging in corruption when necessary to ensure material and worldly success at all costs. She wittingly cheats in a golf tournament and is described as being “incurably dishonest” and unable to “endure being at a disadvantage” by Nick (Fitzgerald 58). She reflects masculinity as

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