Women in the Great Gatsby

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  • Women
    • Intro
      • 1920's  - more rights for women - allowed to vote, go to college, new social and sexual freedom, own cars, able to work.
        • Although women have more freedom, The way in Nick presents the women suggests little has changed from previous years.
          • Female guests at gatsby's party described as "wanderers, confident girls" they arn't tied to men - Hints sexual values still exist - wives "lifted kicking into the night" by their husbands
        • During first world war, Men off to fight - woman replaced them in jobs = acceptable to work with a wider range of jobs.
        • 1920 - women  were granted the right to vote.
      • Traditional gender roles being challenged.
    • Female characters higlight tensions caused by gender roles
      • Daisy
        • controlles men with her looks and charm - captivates nick, tom and gatsby.
          • However - Tom and Gatsby see her as a possession     rather than an individual
      • Jordan
        • succesful  golf career - independant
          • Descriptions of her focus on masculine characteristics"an erect carriage...like a young cadet" - also name isn;t gender specific - suggests she has male attributes required to remain independant
      • Myrtle
        • Myrtles affair  with tom also suggests that she's sexually liberated - only way she can improve her situation is through her relationships with men - depeends on tom to buy her things and take her away from the valley of ashes.
    • Sexuality connected to power and wealth
      • Women use their sexuality to get what they want - myrtle wants to be spoilt = uses vitality to get tom to buy things. daisy wants attention = murmurs "to make people lean toward her"
        • Myrtle's sexuality descrived as a power or force rather than physical attractivness. Nick says she is full of "vitality...as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering"
        • Daisy's  voice represents her feminime sexuality - gives her power over men. Nick describes as "a singing compulsion, a whispered 'listen', a promise that she had done gay, exciting things"
      • Myrtle is sexualised even in death: "her left breast swinging loose" suggests that her sexuality destroyed her


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