F. Scott Fitzgerald’s consideration of gender roles throughout The Great Gatsby reflect the sheer unbalance between the value of men and women in traditional households. Throughout the novel women are seen living a life controlled by men, and accepting their loss of independence for the materialistic values of life. Women follow the social code of the 1920’s to seem ladylike, leading them to succumb to uniform and object like personas. Scenes of blatant sexism are the strongest representation of the gender gap and the loss of morals throughout the 1920’s.
“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.” (page ...view middle of the document...
Here Nick suggests the rigid formula for the women in Gatsby’s era, hinting that as each women followed the same social code to be considered a lady, it made them seem all uniform. It is also important to consider that women in The Great Gatsby are always described to be dressed in white, demonstrating their high level of social class.
Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor (page 14)
This passage demonstrates how women are viewed as objects rather than people, shown through the brief description given to the ladies, giving them a watery persona where tom establishes his power and masculinity when he shuts the windows with a ‘boom’. The wind blowing the curtains through the room also foreshadows the future disorder of the structure of the house hold, until tom definitively slams the window shut and restores the normal order of things; Toms fear of outsiders-and their effect on Daisy.
Not only does F. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrate women as the second sex throughout the novel, but he also uses blatant examples of sexism to further distinguish the gender racism of that period.
Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply” (page 48)
Nick’s line suggests that it is okay for Jordan to lie because she is a woman, and because of her gender she can be forgiven for things about her nature that she cannot control such as lying. This quote can also be used to illustrate the loss of morals in the 1920’s
“Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!” shouted Mrs. Wilson, “I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai-“
Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand. (page 43)
This quote exemplifies not only the significant mistreatment of women throughout the novel, but also the issue of tension between the upper and lower class, creating stress on Tom and...