Women In The Great Gatsby
In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has several prominent male characters, but he also portrays three main female characters; Daisy Buchanan who represents beauty, Jordan Baker who represents mystery, and Myrtle Wilson who represents desire. Each of the females shares the common flapper attitude but they also all have their separate personalities that contribute to the essence of the novel. Fitzgerald uses these characters to show the true American dream through these women’s beauty, personality, and social status.
These three females all have commonalities but there differences and what they represent about the American dream are what contribute to the story. Daisy and Myrtle both have an affair at one point which shows the Americans desire for lust at this time, and they both are very selfish and arrogant but Daisy is more foolish or to conform to society’s standards, “…I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. “‘All right,’” I said, “‘I’m glad its 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.’”(Fitzgerald 17). Whereas Myrtle is more outspoken or a bold woman, “Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!” shouted Mrs. Wilson. “I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai ——”(Fitzgerald Ch 2). To put this in context it was at the party when Tom took Nick to New York to meet Myrtle and they went to a party and Tom and Myrtle were discussing whether she had the right to say Daisy’s name, and she was bold enough to say it right in his face but obviously, Tom didn’t think she had the right to say it since he did break her nose. Daisy is also a slimmer women whereas Myrtle as it mentioned, was on the curvier side. Daisy, also, as I said earlier, represents beauty, “Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth…”(Fitzgerald 14). This shows how there is always hope like in the American dream and how she is captivating and beautiful that adds to the stereotyping of flappers in the 20’s. Myrtle, however, I said was more desire and shows the pleasure in the American dream, “…she carried her flesh sensuously as some women can. Her face…contained no facet or gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smoldering.”(Fitzgerald 28). Jordan is however more mysterious and seductive than the other two, “She was a slender, small-breasted girl, with an erect carriage…her gray sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming, discontented face.”(Fitzgerald 16). Clearly Joran is a mysterious woman because she is looking with a charming face yet it is discontent which don’t go hand in hand. It also shows that her charms comes from her curiosity whilst calm which adds a bit of mystery which intrigues men and exemplifies the American dream. Also, they all have a different social status which can represent different ways of the American dream. Daisy is the true American dream, the richest of them all, and lives lavishly, “‘I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.’”(Fitzgerald 22). Now Myrtle is the complete opposite and is dirt poor but can still achieve the American dream through her relationship with Tom, “I want to get one of those dogs…”(Fitzgerald 29-30). Here Tom takes myrtle to the market and she is so obsessed with his money that she insists on getting a dog ‘for the apartment’ may have been how she put it. Now Jordan was born into a wealthy family, makes a famous athlete of herself which she didn’t need to but just shows another way to achieve the American dream with the other three given from each woman except Jordan. here, has two. “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”(Fitzgerald 50). Their personalities truly distinguish them from the men and stereotype women at this point in time. Daisy is deceiving, which allows her to seem perfect just like how America is shown. Jordan is careless and kind of bleak, “’You’re a rotten driver,’ I protested. ‘Either you ought to be more careful or you oughtn’t to drive at all.’
‘I am careful.’
‘No, you’re not.’
‘Well, other people are,’ she said lightly.
‘What’s that got to do with it?’
‘They’ll keep out of my way,’ she insisted. ‘It takes two to make an accident.’
‘Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself.’
‘I hope I never will,’ she answered. ‘I hate careless people. That’s why I like you.'(Fitzgerald Ch3). Myrtle is manipulative and exciting. Like I said she is more a rule-breaker which, makes her exciting, just like how America looks to the rest of the world.
In Conclusion in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald uses personality, social status and beauty to portray the American dream through three women; Daisy, Myrtle and Jordan. Daisy and Myrtle are the most diverse, socially, but they share a common lover. Daisy and Jordan and the most diverse, personality-wise, since Daisy is more of a person that needs things planned out needs to know what’s going on, whereas Jordan is a more go with the flow kind of a person. And you can’t really compare their beauty since everyone has a different opinion on it. Overall, women in The Great Gatsby represent the American dream.
- Fitzgerald, F.Scott. The Great Gatsby. Penguin Books, 1950.