Analyzation of Women in “The Great Gatsby”
Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength (G.D Anderson). Traditionally, women have been thought of as housewives; people who take care of the kids, clean the house and make sure that there is a hot-cooked meal waiting for her husband when he gets off of work. In The Great Gatsby there are three different types of women presented. There is the golden girl, the gold digger and the independent woman. These different types of women are represented by Daisy Buchanan who is easily the golden girl, Myrtle Wilson who plays the gold digger so well, and Jordan Baker, the independent woman. The roles that these three women play in the novel is connected to development of the actual story.
First, Fitzgerald portrays Daisy as a damsel in distress and an object of desire for men. She gave up on Gatsby and his love. Instead she settled on and is married to Tom, who is wealthy and can easily provide for her. She has flapper tendencies, she has that carelessness within her when it comes to her values of irresponsibility and the way she treats her daughter. When Daisy and Nick talk, he brings up the baby and she says to him, I suppose she talks, and- eats and everything (Fitzgerald 16). This makes it seem as if Daisy does not really care much for her daughter; she does not seem to be very interested in the things that mothers are typically interested in. There is a point in the story where she admits that she wishes her daughter was actually a son. Throughout the context, it is as if she is disappointed in having a daughter rather than a son. She explains to Nick how she wept after finding out that her newborn child was a girl. She says, 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 (Fitzgerald 17). This quote shows exactly what Daisy thinks of women in that time. In that day and age, Daisy believes that women are not meant to be intelligent; she believes they need to just be beautiful and dumb. They are meant to be eye candy for the men. She honestly believes that having these qualities is the best way for women to get ahead in life. Daisy does not want anything to do with making an attempt to make a change to society. To Gatsby, Daisy is corrupted by money and the lifestyle that Tom has been providing her with. At one point, Gatsby talks to Nick about Daisy’s voice and the power it yields. Nick is trying to find out what is so magical about Daisy’s voice. He says, Her voice is full of money…That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it.High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl (Fitzgerald 120). Daisy’s influence in this story is her status of wealth and beauty.
Second, Miss Jordan Baker is portrayed as the independent woman throughout this story. She is known as an independent woman because she is not the type of female who needs a man to be complete. She doesn’t like to feel as if she is at a disadvantage because she is a woman who is on her own. She also is not married and an athlete which is extremely unusual for women in that day and age. Though she is supposed to be this independent woman, there is something that draws her to Nick. This could be the fact that she feels like she has complete dominance over him. Nick describes Jordan when he says, Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at disadvantage and, given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard, jaunty body (Fitzgerald 57-58). Miss Baker is the complete opposite of Daisy and Myrtle. Unlike the other two women, who feel the need to cling onto money and a man for happiness, Jordan commits to being self-sufficient which is something Nick picks up on early in the first chapter. He explains to the reader: At any rate, Miss Baker’s lips fluttered, she nodded at me almost imperceptibly, and then quickly tipped her head back again the object she was balancing had obviously tottered a little and given her something of a fright. Again a sort of apology arose to my lips. Almost any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me (Fitzgerald 9).
Third, Myrtle Wilson is known as the gold digger. Myrtle is not the typical type of woman of this time period. This is a woman who takes care of her husband, but has no qualms about cheating on George with Tom. Myrtle had an affair with Tom because she knew it was a way she could receive materialistic things such as gifts; Tom caring about her is a quick and easy way to get out of poverty. To Tom, Myrtle is just a sex object that he can keep around using very expensive gifts. Myrtle, honestly, has the idea in her head that the reason Tom is buying her all of these gifts is simply because he loves her and wants to be her. She believes he will leave Daisy to be with her, but that was not the case; Tom is using her. Myrtle goes indeed regret marrying George. He is not what she wants him to be and she makes that clear for the reader. She says, I married him because I thought he was a gentleman…I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn’t fit to lick my shoe (Fitzgerald 34). She is fully aware that marrying him is a mistake in her case. She knows that being married to a man like him is no longer what she wants. Myrtle makes it clear that he does not fit the standards she wants. The only crazy I was was when I married him. I knew right away I made a mistake. He borrowed somebody’s best suit to get married in, and never even told me about it,and the man came after it one day when he was out. She looked around to see who was listening. ‘Oh, is that your suit?’ I said. This is the first I ever heard about it.’ But I gave it to him and then I lay down and cried to beat the band all afternoon (Fitzgerald 35).
In conclusion, women are always made up to be what society portrays or wants them to be but, these three women changed the views for all women in the 1920’s. They made it easier for women to live freely and even without feeling the need for acceptance. They each played different roles that may have sparked up some animosity but they all still remained true to themselves and their actions helped change the world for women now a days. We live how we choose and never worry about what a man thinks.