Depicting masculinity: The Great Gatsby
There are many different types of people in this world that try to persuade others on how dominate and powerful they can be. Some can show it off really easy with material things and others have a struggle to find it. Throughout the dramatic novel of The Great Gatsby, three different male characters display their own unique traits on how they show off their manliness. Whether it’s through the classic strong man of Tom Buchanan, the new money and sketchy background of Jay Gatsby or the quiet, soul searching Nick Caraway, there is a sense of competition among this group of men to establish masculinity in their own different way. In the story, one of these characters distinguished his masculinity in a more ideal way than the other two and established a more authoritative way of doing things. In his novel of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald demonstrates how masculinity is defined better through Tom Buchanan than the other characters because of his cleverness and controlling ways towards others in the story.
Even though he tries to establish his way of masculinity in the story, Nick Caraway seems to have a harder time doing this than the other two more successful individual’s. Coming from the Midwest to find out what he can do on his own and with very little money, Nick had no real established connections of work or social life when he arrived to the major city except only
really with the Buchanan’s. At the time Nick was hanging out with them, he showed he could not assertively voice his own decision making and views. An example that Fitzgerald gives of this is when Nick went with Tom and Myrtle to city one day. In The Great Gatsby, Nick had said “ ‘Hold on I said, I have to leave you here’. ‘No, you don’t’ interposed Tom..” (Fitzgerald, 28). This example helps to explain on how Nick can be commanded really easy on decision making not just by one character in character in Tom, but by Myrtle and eventually other characters later in the story. He just needed to stick to his priorities to demonstrate that he knows what he wants to do but instead got commanded to stay with the group. This explains a weakness in Nick’s masculinity that he can’t make his own decisions and just goes along with what the rest of the group is doing when they were in the city and not just simply doing a favor for a friend.
There have been many other times in which Nick’s masculinity is observed as not being as strong as the other characters throughout the story. Another example of Nick not exerting his masculinity comes later in the story when he says goodbye to Jordan. While saying goodbye to Jordan, she lashed out on him on how he wasn’t good for her by saying “ ‘Nevertheless you did throw me over,’ Jordan said suddenly. ‘You threw me over on the telephone. I don’t give a damn about you now, but it was a new experience for me’ ”(Fitzgerald, 177). This piece of the story describes how Nick’s masculinity is affected on the...