An Analysis of Female Gender Roles in The Great Gatsby
One of the most prominent masterpieces in American literature, without any doubt, is the great novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. This is a novel that combines many elements from the cultural and social reality of the United States in the 1920s. Also, it portrays the clear gender differences between men and women during this time. The purpose of this essay is to analyze the gender roles of women during the 1920’s and how they are depicted in The Great Gatsby, as such, it is based on the female characters in The Great Gatsby. To begin, it’s helpful to examine the life and work of this great writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose life and his relationships with women, are reflected in many aspects of the story. Francis Scott Fitzgerald was born into a wealthy family on September 24, 1896, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. His father, Edward Fitzgerald, was a furniture manufacturer, and his mother, Mollie McQuillan, was the daughter of a wealthy businessman from the same city in Minnesota. However, the wealthy status of the family changed in 1898, and the main source of support for the family became the money that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s mother had inherited from her father (Adam 10). In 1911, F. Scott Fitzgerald was sent to the Newman School, which was a Catholic preparatory school in New Jersey. There, he was introduced to well-known literary figures. From this early part of his life, F. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrated a love and a passion for literature and writing. In fact, throughout high school, he worked for the college humor magazine, “The Princeton Tiger.’’ At other times in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s academic life, he got poor grades, and illness forced him to leave school. As a result, he never graduated from college (Adam 10). In 1917, he enlisted in the army and fought in World War I as a second lieutenant. Later, in his personal life, he met and fell in love with Ginerva King, a wealthy woman from Lake Forest, Illinois. Because he was not wealthy enough to give her a high social status, she rejected him. Later, he fell in love with Zelda Sayre, and they were married, against the wishes of Zelda’s parents (Adam 12). Some of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most important works are, This Side of Paradise, which was published in 1921 and was a great success. Also, in 1924, he published another novel named, Tender is the Night, which was based on the attempted suicide of his wife. However, his masterpiece novel was, The Great Gatsby, which was published in 1925 and is considered to be one of the most popular and well-regarded American novels. At the end of his life, he was hospitalized because of his alcohol problems, and he died of a heart attack on December 21, 1940 (Adam 13-14). One of the themes of the The Great Gatsby is gender differences during the 1920’s. These differences were prevalent during the 1920’s, and they are present in the context of the novel. When one considers the female characters of the novel, it helps to analyze how differently men and women experienced the world at that time. It’s also helpful to use all of the drastic, historical changes that happened from 1910 to 1920 in the United States as a point of reference. For example, the United States entered World War I in 1917. The prohibition of alcohol in the United States, the passage of the 18th Amendment and the Spanish influenza that killed many people worldwide were also events that contributed to the social and economical changes in American life. Many of these changes are reflected in the novel, The Great Gatsby. One of the main female characters is Daisy Buchanan; she is the wife of Tom Buchanan, a wealthy man. Daisy’s character is a portrayal of the submissive woman, typical at the time, who is humiliated by the constant infidelity of her husband. Moreover, she is superficial and interested only in the money of her husband. She does not work and lives as a...
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