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The Role of Women in The Great Gatsby

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Arusha Chaudhry

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of The Role of Women in The Great Gatsby

The Role of Women in
The Great Gatsby

Do you think the women's role in today's society is different from the 1920's?

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's
The Great Gatsby
, the roaring 1920's is portrayed as a time of fame, glamor and excitement. It was the time that women were recognized as a major influence on the American culture.
F. Scott Fitzgerald uses women as characters to build the American Dream by showcasing their beauty, status and personality.
Beauty in The Great Gatsby is a vital component of the 1920's culture, which is shown through Daisy, Jordan and Myrtle.
Daisy symbolizes beauty. she is described as a captivating, young girl that leads others on with her naive and innocent presentation.
She builds the American Dream by showing the beauty and happiness that the dream portrays.
She is a male fantasy, which men want to attain.
She uses her beauty at her advantage in order to live the glamorous life that she wants.
Quotation Analysis
"Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth..." (Fitzgerald 14)
This represents how Daisy is a part of the American Dream and she captures the attention of men with her naivety and beauty. She makes the American Dream seem like it always has a happy ending.
Jordan's beauty is her mysterious features that cause others to be intrigued by it. Her ability to fit in with her cool, neutral attitude exemplifies her beauty.
Quotation Analysis
"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)
Myrtle's contribution to the American Dream is her seductive, captivating, and alluring looks. Her forbidden beauty is pleasing for Men to want. She represents the American dream by planting an image of reward and pleasure in others
Quotation Analysis
The quote explains how Jordan's charm comes from her curious looks that always seem to remain calm.
The manner she carries herself also enhances her glamor and makes her seem confident.
Jordan's looks exemplify the dream because they make others think that her life is relaxed
Her mysterious features are intriguing and cause people to want to know more about her

"...but 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)
The text proves that Myrtles beauty is very captivating. The American Dream is directed to Men who want pleasure and satisfaction. Myrtle's beauty and seductiveness is appealing and welcoming.
All ranks of social status are read in the book. From Myrtle to Daisy, there is a huge gap of wealth and acceptance. Their differences create hope within citizens of America that the dream is possible.
Daisy was born into a wealthy family and her status represents the ultimate goal of the American Dream that everyone wants to achieve. Her ability to maintain her status within the books proves that wealth and power in the dream is stable.
Quotation Analysis
"'I've been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.' Her eyes flashed around her in a defiant way... 'God, I'm sophisticated!'" (Fitzgerald 22)
This shows that Daisy is at the top of the social ladder. Daisy's status allows her to expand her knowledge. Her statement elaborates on the American Dream by expressing her intelligence.
Jordan was born into a wealthy family and lifestyle. She has a life style of a famous athlete which makes her life very eventful and social. She makes the American Dream seem more inviting because of her status as a celebrity.
Quotation Analysis
"'And I like large parties. They're so intimate. At small parties there isn't any privacy." (Fitzgerald 50)
Jordan describes her preference of intimacy; this enables others to visualize the Dream as a friendly environment.
Myrtle is poor, however she is able to attain the American Dream through her relationship with Tom. This gives others hope that the Dream is achievable.
Quotation Analysis
"'I want to get one of those dogs... I think it's cute... How much is it?'
'That dog will cost you ten dollars.'" (Fitzgerald 29-30)
This act of Myrtle purchasing a dog with Tom's money shows that with good decisions and dedication the American Dream can be attained.
The personalities and unique attitudes of the women reflect and construct the American Dream. It also separates the women from the men; this is shown in the novel because their demands are highlighted over the Men's preferences.
Daisy is deceiving, she has become an artificial woman which allows her to seem perfect. Her character is very similar to the American Dream because she herself is an illusion.
Quotation Analysis
"There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of these dreams - not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man can store up in his ghostly heart.
Nick talks about how Gatsby had created an illusion of Daisy being perfect. Daisy had the personality that was able to create that illusion.
Jordan Baker is impassive, dishonest and independent. She lives her life without suffering the consequences of her actions.
Quotation Analysis
"At her first big gold tournament there was a row that nearly reached the newspapers - a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round. The thing approached the proportions of the scandal - then died away." (Fitzgerald 58)
Nick mentions Jordan dishonesty when she cheats during her golf game and hides this fact. This shows that the dream is all about success and no failure. Jordan is easily able to forgo her mistake because no one else really cares as long as you have money.
Myrtle is manipulative, optimistic and has perseverance. She has become a symbol of hope because she is so relatable. Her defiance against society norms make the dream seem exciting.
Quotation Analysis
"A white ashen dust veiled his dark suit and his pale hair as it veiled everything in the vicinity - except his wife..." (Fitzgerald 28)
Myrtle compared to Mr.Wilson is vibrant ; this supports her character because she is bold, clever and rebellious. The dust was on everything expect Myrtle which shows Mr. Wilson's control over everything in the store except her which shows that she is her own person.
Class Discussion
Works Cited
Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1925. Print.

Moore, Lucy. Anything Goes: A Biography of the

Roaring Twenties. United States: The Overlook

Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc, 2010. Print.

Streissguth, Tom.
The Roaring Twenties.
New York: Facts

on Files, Inc., 2001. Print.

Miss Representation. "How the Media failed women in

. Youtube, LLC. 3 Dec 2013. Web. 9

Dec 2013.
Secondary Source:
"Their celebrity and the fact that their public manners and physical appearance so perfectly matched the fascinating, wanton images projected in Scott's story... As their actress friend Lillian Gish said, 'They didn't make the twenties; they
the twenties.'" (Moore 71)
*This source discusses F. Scott Fitzgerald and his lover*
Zelda, Fitzgerald's lover, had a great influence in the actual 1920's as a prominent woman in society. Scott was amazed by her features and talents; Zelda was defined as the role model of women in her society, just like Daisy was in
The Great Gatsby
. Scott writes his novel based on the effects Zelda has on the culture, which changed the way women were viewed.
Secondary Source:
"She need not fear that the masculine mind, almost universally dominant, will fail to take care of its own. Her mission is not to enhance the masculine spirit, but to express the feminine; hers is not to preserve a man-made world, but to create a human world by the infusion of the feminine element into all of its activities." (Streississguth 57)
This quote explains that the American Dream is essentially about the women. Women have expressed their feminism through different elements within the dream. Although the dream is directed towards the men, women have their own interpretations of the dream.
With the aid of women characters, the plot was developed to enhance the American Dream though the aspects of beauty, status, and personality.
1. General Theme Question
2. Visual Representation
3. Introduction
4. Thesis
5. (1st point of direction) Beauty
6. (2nd point of direction) Status
7. (3rd point of direction) Personality
8. *Secondary Source
9. Class Discussion
10. Conclusion
11. Works Cited
Do you think the women in the novel felt forced to maintain and keep up their appearances? Think about their reputations.
Which women's personality is applied or more relatable to the modern day female attitude to society? Are women today more like Myrtle, Jordan, or Daisy?
Do you think the women's role in today's society is different from the 1920's?
General Question
A Mini Quiz:
1. What's the main difference between the characters Daisy, Myrtle, and Jordan?
2. We've discussed the Men's American dream, How do you think the dream would have changed if it was targeted towards Women?
3. Why do you think Gatsby thought of Daisy as the nicest woman he's ever met?
4. Which woman do you think succeeded most in building her own American dream?
5. Do you think Daisy's enjoys her role and function as a Woman?
6. Do you think Daisy had affairs with other men before Gatsby?
7. Do you think Jordan was always Dishonest?
8. Why did the author relate Daisy's voice to money?
9. How do you think the American Dream has evolved?
10. Do you think Myrtle was happy with her Marriage before Tom came along?

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