Symbolism Behind The Names Of The Female Characters In The Great Gatsby American Literature Essay

1677 words - 7 pages

The Great Gatsby Essay Final Draft
Symbolism behind the names of the female characters’ names in The Great Gatsby
In The Great Gatsby, each female character’s name comes from something that reflects their true selves. Myrtle Wilson’s and Daisy Buchanan’s personalities coincide perfectly with attributes of the flowers their names come from. While Daisy and Myrtle have names of flowers, Jordan Baker’s name comes from two car companies joined together (“Biography for Jordan”). The names of the female characters in The Great Gatsby reflect certain underlying and crucial characteristics to their personalities. Jordan Baker’s name comes from two car companies (“Biography for Jordan”) and is a unisex name, which represents her masculinity and the contrasts between her and many other women during the 1920s. Myrtle Wilson relates to the myrtle plant both physically and symbolically in the book. Like the flower, Daisy appears as fragile and seemingly pure through her association with the color white, yet in her core, she is yellow and corrupted.
Instead of being named after a flower, Jordan Baker’s name comes from the Jordan Motor Car Company and the Baker Motor Vehicle (“Biography for Jordan”). In The Great Gatsby, cars represent the carelessness, wealth, and freedom in the 1920s. Several car crashes occur in the story, all caused by reckless driving, one resulting in Myrtle Wilson’s death. Jordan, herself, is a careless driver, as Nick Carraway demonstrates when he writes about an instance where he criticizes her driving, calling her a “rotten driver”. Not only does Jordan drive irresponsibly, but she insists that other people ought to just “keep out of [her] way,” and claims that “‘It takes two to make an accident’” (Fitzgerald 58). In the dialogue between the two, Jordan reveals her carelessness and insensitivity as she doesn’t even bother to drive carefully, relying on the other driver to not crash into her. This exemplifies the mindset of many wealthy Americans in this age, causing damage with no real consequences, constantly “...[smashing] up things and creatures and then [retreating] back into their money of their vast carelessness...and let other people clean up the mess they had made…” (Fitzgerald 179), as Nick writes when describing Tom and Daisy. Jordan Baker does not seem to care about the rules, acting lazy in general, as seen when Nick reveals that she may have cheated during a golf tournament by “...[moving] the ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round” (Fitzgerald 57). Tom Buchanan even mentions her inertia in the first chapter saying, “‘How you ever get anything done is beyond me’” (Fitzgerald 10). Since her name relates to cars, Jordan Baker serves as the example of America’s corrupt wealthy class in The Great Gatsby. There are several instances in the book where Nick notes certain masculine characteristics of Jordan, for one, when he first sees her, he describes her as a, “small-breasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she...

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