Reading Literature 121
October 12, 2014
The Subordinate Role of Women in The Great Gatsby
“I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” This is from when Daisy and Nick are having a redundant conversation. It demonstrates one of the key elements of the novel: a classic inferior role for women in the Roaring Twenties. Daisy’s quote suggests an awareness of some superb emerging obstacle, and a following impression of submission. Daisy feels individually persecuted by the world she lives in; there is damaged aspiration inside her, resulting from some type of failure. It also proposes that Daisy is very conscious of her own feminism, and the place that femininity holds in the particular historical situation. Daisy seems to have unenthusiastically allowed herself to have the lifestyle she has been given, yet there is a slight longing gleam of hope in her heart. Although she appears shallow at times, the hidden intelligence of her character should not be forgotten. In many ways, this quotation is autobiographical, although Daisy is talking about her future daughter. There are a plethora of other examples other than Daisy’s quote that characterizes women as a “second sex.” Scott Fitzgerald constructs a clear point of implementing gender roles in his writing. The women in The Great Gatsby are well mannered and elegant, usually found wearing cream or white dresses. They ensue an implied, established social code that requires conformity and leaves many female characters replicas of one another. On page 63, we see that Benny McClenahan “arrives always with four girls” to Gatsby’s parties who are “never quite the same ones in physical person, so identical one with another that it inevitably seemed they had been there before.” This certain observation by Nick implies that there is a strict principle for women in Gatsby’s era; the social code is...
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