Gender in the Great Gatsby and Cristina Rossetti’s Poems.

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Fitzgerald writes about gender roles in a conservative manner in the Great Gatsby; men work to earn money for the maintenance of the women. Men are dominant over women, especially in the case of Tom, who asserts his physical strength to subdue them. Women’s passive roles in relationships are highlighted by Daisy and Myrtle, the main wives of the story, who stay home and look pretty. Jordan, the lone single woman introduced, fulfils what many single women end up doing: developing a career to support themselves. All three women use their looks and cunning promiscuity to entice men. This is a traditional feature of women, but particularly in America, this behaviour became commonplace in the 20’s when women fought for greater rights. For example, in chapters 1 and 3, Jordan plays a hard-to-get with Nick at Daisy's house and then at Gatsby's party. The men on the other hand play a role of bringing home the money, although Tom has come from old money and he just spends frivolously. George Wilson, a "spiritless man", demonstrates a typical working class man struggling to make ends meet; we see this in chapter 2 when Tom and Nick stop by, and Nick describes it as "desolate" and "grotesque". However, this descriptive language also presents a subversion of gender roles within the story, as Jordan becomes self reliant due to her lovers failed business and the “grey” lifestyle they lead. Gatsby's money is earned; although the entire book makes it difficult to understand exactly how, we presume he is a bootlegger. Nick works an honest job in the city as a bond man. The only hint of a role reversal is in the pair of Nick and Jordan; Jordan's androgynous name and calm, collected manner masculinises her. However, Nick does in the end exert his dominance over her by ending the relationship. The women in the novel are not pure, and reflect the lively nature of the time. Myrtle is the most sensual, but the fact that Jordan and Daisy wear white dresses only highlights their...
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