What do you think about the view that there are no women in ‘The Great Gatsby’ with whom the reader can sympathise? I believe that Fitzgerald constructs characters such as: Myrtle Wilson, Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker which manipulates the reader to perceive these women as sinful, lustful and provocative. However, Fitzgerald may have done this due to the radiant times of the ‘Jazz Age’ (Roaring Twenties). Although, throughout the novel the reader is able to notice that everyone is superficial and pretentious snobs due to the power of money.
Furthermore, there is a clear obsession with materialism and the perception of your class as seen right the way through ‘The Great Gatsby’. In the 1920s, the perception of the American Dream was that an individual can achieve success in life regardless of family history or social status if they only work hard enough. However, Daisy doesn’t work hard for her slice of success and social popularity, she marries into it. This can be seen due her superficiality as she masks the inevitable pain she feels as Tom has an affair with Myrtle. Through inferring, it can be seen that money is a dominant factor as Tom commits the sin of infidelity due to wealth and power. ) Furthermore, Daisy is portrayed as a woman who is beautiful, vibrant and attractive thus, she is able to portray the Roaring Twenties as it is conveyed as vivacious although, when peeling away at the exterior like Daisy, they are both full of shallowness and phony. On the other hand, sympathy can be felt for Daisy due to her shambles of a marriage with the bigot and brute that is Tom Buchanan.
As his brutality is seen when Daisy blames him for her bruised knuckle that is “black and blue”. I believe that the character ‘Myrtle Wilson’ was created by Fitzgerald not to sympathise with but, to judge and be shown the disgusting truths of which people had thought upon others. Myrtle conveys a theme of snobbish class and wealth as she has an affair with Tom due to his prosperity and riches as she believes that George is below her social group. In addition, she has an affair due to Toms’ brute nature as Myrtle had told George “throw me and down and beat me, you dirty little coward! portraying that Myrtle is able to live up to her name as ‘shrub’. Although, the reader may sympathise with her as she is trapped in ‘lower’ class and she is trying to escape thus, showing the ‘American Dream’. Following her dream causes her to realise her true value as in Chapter 2, she is no more than one of Toms’ sexual “sprees” in which he abandon upon mere choice. Further sympathy can be given to Myrtle in the action packed scene where “in a short deft movement . . . with [Toms’] open hand” he breaks Myrtles nose.
Hence, disfiguring the one real advantage she has; her physical attractiveness. As a result of this, sympathy is given as it shows the harsh reality of a patriarchal society which took place in the 1920s’. Fitzgerald is able to depict Jordan as the most emancipated woman in the novel of ‘The Great Gatsby’ in comparison to Daisy & Myrtle. This is shown as “she wore her evening dress, all her dresses, like sports clothes” informing the reader that she isn’t very ladylike. Also, that she plays sports which were male dominated in the patriarchal society.
Furthermore, I know that there will be a large amount of compassion given to Jordan as “her only family was her aunt” thus, showing the difficulty through which she had to go through in order to be noticed in the 1920s’ male dominated culture. Although, she had moved her golf ball in order ensure her success shows the fact that the rich are able to become richer through tilting the tables in their favour. As a consequence this can be seen as a manipulation of the ‘American Dream’ were you work hard and are able to achieve success regardless of class, race or family history.
In conclusion, I am certain that Fitzgerald uses the women; Daisy Buchanan, Myrtle Wilson and Jordan Baker in order portray the struggle that women had to go through for fortune and status. She is able to effectively use these three women in a fashion in which they aren’t sympathised for, but are judged. In addition, when looking back I believe that the supposed eyes of T. J. Eckleburg could be a reflection of us, the reader as we are able to see over everyone’s’ activity through Nicks’ eyes. Lastly, Fitzgerald cleverly creates these three women in order to represent the harsh and blunt authenticity of the proclaimed Roaring Twenties.