The Role of Women in the Great Gatsby

Throughout time, literature has shown to depict a changing culture as women roles in society develop. The progression of women’s role from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fences by August Wilson, and Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen demonstrate the change of the housewife driven culture to a feminist awakening. These changes range from the roaring twenties to the sixties. During this time period, women were shown to grow more independent and attain tasks, even jobs that they had not been able to complete before. Their voices were beginning to be heard and women were now seen as an influence on the American culture.
The novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald takes place in the 1920’s, sometime shortly after World War I had taken place. During this time period, women were just beginning to gain their freedom, by obtaining jobs and also in succeeding the right to vote. Women were also starting to rebel in ways such as cutting their hair, wearing clothing that was much shorter than it was allowed to be, and by smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Due to these changes, women who disregarded the traditional rules were portrayed as homewreckers and a disgrace in society. Although, there was women who did not follow these changes. These women were shown to be insubordinate to men and more as an object of desire. Daisy Buchanan, a character from Fitzgerald’s novel that portrays such women.
Daisy is a character that is shown to act in both the old traditional way, but she also embodies the newer nontraditional ways that women were beginning to portray. She is shown to act more traditionally with her decisions of stability. This includes choosing Tom over Gatsby, even though she loved Gatsby. But Tom is chosen because he is able to provide for Daisy. However, once Gatsby had become wealthy and successful he believes that Daisy will suddenly be his again. His thinking shows the fact that in society women are regarded as objects to be sold and bought rather than one to be respected.

Daisy is also shown to embody the role of a flapper, with her lack or responsibility of her actions. These actions are shown through Daisy’s daughter, Pammy. Daisy hired a nanny to watch and raise her child, leading the reader to believe that she does not care about her. She says,”… I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” (Fitzgerald). This shows how Daisy idea about the women in her society. That they are unable of being anything more than beautiful and ignorant. But, Daisy is not a fool. She is only a victim of her society. A society of which is influenced by gender, money, and status. This leads to Daisy having little to no power or even control over her own life.

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