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Role Of New Women In 1920s

2522 words - 10 pages

American society during 1920s was the period of the significant change for women. During the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, ideas of modern womanhood were redefined by flappers. American women achieved more liberation as they expressed through there appearance and fashion. The flapper’s appearance as well as behavior became more boy-like and not quite feminine. They cut their hair short “bobbed” and wore short and loose flapper dresses with a hemline. Furthermore, the flapper look must have completed with a suitable make-up; to powder their nose, color their cheeks and paint their lips. For their behaviors, as they were more free, liberated and independent, they went to jazz night clubs where they danced, smoked cigarettes and dated freely or be sexually liberated. They started playing sports like tennis and golf, rode bicycles, drove cars, and openly drank alcohol in the public. However, women found their lives changed in more than appearance. Significant changes for women took place in politics, the family, the workplace, and in education. The 19th amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1920, giving women the right to vote, freely expressing feelings and spoke their minds, taking public roles in the society. Women also began to pursue both family life and careers of their own.
Moving on from the general background about the New Woman or flappers, we come to see the representation of the New Woman in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. We want to take a closer look at Fitzgerald’s female characters Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, Myrtle Wilson and other minor female character, Catharine in order to decide whether these characters can be considered representatives of the New Woman in the Jazz Age or intend to be the cautionary tale for them.
In the novel, with superficially look at the leading female character, Daisy Buchanan represent as any flapper in the Roaring Twenties. Her behaviors in the novel are mostly presented by Nick Caraway, the narrator and some are from Jordan Baker and Jay Gatsby. Nevertheless, there is only little information that she speaks out directly. Jordan Baker describes about Daisy's youth life as she was a beautiful and very popular girl in Louisville in 1917, whom many men were coming for her as “She was just eighteen, two years older than me, and by far the most popular of all the young girls in Louisville. She dressed in white, and had a little white roadster, and all day long the telephone rang in her house and excited young officers from Camp Taylor demanded the privilege of monopolising her that night.” (106) This description of her youth can tell that she is a new modern woman in 1920s. She had her car and was from a wealthy family. Also Daisy could be seen with Gatsby in her car unchaperoned. This is another sign that she did not live according to the old traditional value. Later on we know that Daisy slept with Gatsby before he left her party. And she did not keep her promise to wait for...

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