How Women Are Portrayed in the Great Gatsby

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 3 (1014 words) Published: March 18, 2011
The Great Gatsby, and it gives us an insight into the gender roles of past WW1 America. Throughout the novel, women are portrayed in a very negative light. The author’s presentation of women is unflattering and unsympathetic. The women are not described with depth. When given their description, Fitzgerald appeals to their voice, “ she had a voice full of money”, their looks “her face was lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes, and a bright passionate mouth”, and the way in which they behave, “ ’They’re such beautiful shirts’ she sobbed”, rather than their feelings or emotions, for example, Daisy is incapable of genuine affection, however she is aimlessly flirtatious.

In the Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald presents all three women in a vilifying manner; Daisy is weak and careless, Jordan is dishonest and haughty, and Myrtle is unfaithful. Nick describes Jordan as “incurably dishonest”. This introduces the ideology of distrust of women in the novel. In 1922, American women did not have the same rights as men and were often trapped in oppressive marriages and seen as the inferior sex. This inferiority is reflected through the way in which women have a secondary role in this novel. Nick’s citation concerning the dishonesty in a woman depicts the way in which throughout the novel, women’s flaws are almost exonerated. This citation of Fitzgerald also advocates that, because women do not have the same moral values as men-because they are inferior-it is therefore not their fault. This possible proposition provides an explanation for Jay Gatsby’s ignorance towards Daisy’s vindictive nature, and Nick’s swift forgiveness of Jordan’s fraudulence.

Daisy is presented as the most enigmatic, female character. Although Fitzgerald does much to make her a character worthy of Gatsby’s unlimited devotion, in the end she reveals herself for what she truly is. Despite her beauty and charm, Daisy is merely selfish, shallow, vindictive and...
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