The great Gatsby gives us an accurate insight into the 1920s zeitgeist regarding the role of women in society. America was in a state of an economic boom and rapid change. Society had become less conservative after world war one. The role of women was revolutionary during this time and although women had a lot more freedom now; they were still confined to their sexist role within society; Men were still seen as the dominant gender. Scott Fitzgerald illustrates the extremities of gender and social class, and the lack of independence this brought upon women. This essay will discuss the three major female characters and the ideas that Fitzgerald confronts of female stereotypes of the 1920s.
1. Daisy illustrates the typical women of high social standing; her life is moulded by society’s expectations. She is dependent and subservient to her husband. She is powerless in her marriage.
2. Myrtle represents the contrasting women of the lower class. She is an opportunist; she is obsessed with wealth and material possessions. She will do anything to be of a higher social class. She is sexualized and objectified by the dominant wealthy man.
3. Jordan symbolizes the revolutionary self sufficient women. She is independent and does not rely on men financially. She challenges the idea of a dependent woman.
Daisy Buchanan illustrates the downfall of the stereotypical upper class women of the 1920s; she is “high in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl”, the girl who men idolize and dominate. Society has moulded her to be subservient and powerless. She is completely controlled by her husband Tom Buchanan, who is the archetypal character of the patriarchal social system of the 1920s. She is materialistic and superficial; “her voice is full of money”, her decisions are not only influenced by the men in her life but also by their social standing. Daisy is a meretricious character, this only adds to her dependence on men and their material wealth. As a result Daisy lacks independence and is controlled by the dominant men in her life, Tom and Gatsby.
She is constantly manipulated and persuaded by Tom and Gatsby. The Plaza Hotel scene is a good example of Daisy’s incompetence to make her own decisions and verbalizes her true feelings. She is weak, incapable, and emotionally overwhelmed. Tom and Gatsby argue on her behalf, Gatsby arguing that; “She [Daisy] never loved you [Tom], do you hear? She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me. It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved anyone except me!” Tom continues to argue and defend on behalf of Daisy, “Daisy loved me when she married me and she loves me now.”
A common view of the 1920s women is that she is foolish; she is dependent on a man. We see this with Daisy” The trouble is that sometimes she gets foolish ideas into her head and doesn't know what she’s doing”. Daisy has no control of her life; society has made her the pathetic...