The Great Gatsby Essay
Jordan Baker is the only successful female character Fitzgerald has created in the novel, and she only succeeds by virtue of her masculine attributes. How far is this true of the depiction of women in The Great Gatsby?
I thoroughly agree with this statement regarding the depiction of women in “The Great Gatsby”, as Jordan Baker is immediately introduced to the reader as being quite antipodal to the traditional female persona of that era, due to her success in sport, “her face was familiar – its pleasing contemptuous expression had looked at me from many rotogravure pictures of the sporting life at Ashville”, a career that would not typically be associated with women in the early 20th century.
The fact Nick interprets her facial expression as “contemptuous” illustrates how he feels belittled by Jordan and alludes that he is intimidated by her presence as it appears she disproves of him, supporting the idea that she has “masculine attributes” as she behaves in a manner that Nick clearly does not expect of a woman. Nevertheless, he is “pleased” by such mannerisms as they are perhaps refreshing for him, hence he is attracted to Jordan, and she proves herself a successful woman by gaining the admiration of men through her diverse behaviour.
Daisy Buchanan is an example of an unsuccessful female character in “The Great Gatsby”. She is delineated as being “like a flower” by Nick, implying that whilst she maintains an appealing exterior she is delicate “like a flower”, which could refer to the fact she is easily taken advantage and made a fool of by Tom, as she conforms to play the traditional role of a wife and obeys him despite the fact she is aware of his affair, claiming it “couldn’t be helped”. Furthermore, her “voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget, a singing compulsion” depicts how Daisy’s captivating ways symbolise that of a siren, and that her femininity lures men to her, which, as shown by the ongoing conflict between Tom and Gatsby, ends in tragedy. Moreover, Jordan is described in an androgynous way, with a “cadet” like posture and as being “small breasted”, implying that her masculinity allows her to relish as the more successful female as she is not as luring to men and thus avoids inconvenient love affairs.
Jordan Baker is…