In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, we see that the character of Jordan Baker is quite different from other women of her time. She has beliefs and values that are radically different from everybody else’s. Through her actions, it is clear that she represents the emergence of a different type of woman -- one who is self sufficient -- in the 1920’s. Fitzgerald uses this individual to symbolize the changing ways of life in America.
Jordan Baker, Daisy’s friend, is portrayed by Fitzgerald as a masculine figure. One of the first things we find out about this woman is the fact that she is a professional golf player. Nowadays, we don’t find anything unusual about this, but, in the twenties, it was quite unusual to find a woman playing golf. When we first meet this character, she is described as a “slender, small breasted girl with an erect carriage which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet.” Small breasts are usually symbolic of a masculine figure, as would being a “young cadet.” Later on, we see her reading the Saturday Evening Post, and turning the pages with a “flutter of slender muscles in her arms.” Reading a newspaper would be an unlikely action of a woman of that time, and even her muscles reveal her masculine features. Fitzgerald’s masculine depiction of Miss Baker in this fashion shows the reader the coming of a self sufficient woman into our times.
In addition to Jordan’s physical features, her beliefs and values show that she is far from a typical woman of the time. At her first big golf tournament, there had been speculation concerning Jordan moving her ball from a bad lie, indicating her defiance of the rules of the game as well as her habits of being dishonest and being a cheater. Many women of this time would not find the need to cheat and be dishonest, and therefore it just shows Miss Baker’s ability to free herself from...
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