The novel represents how the roles and lives of women were during the time the novel was written in

The novel represents how the roles and lives of women were during the time the novel was written in, which is the 1920s. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, represents women as inferior and insignificant, containing no important roles in society, just like how they were represented during the 1920s. He portrays that by showing how all the women in the novel—Daisy Buchannan, Jordan Baker, and Myrtle Wilson–demonstrate an inferiority nature with significance only in relationship to the male characters. He explains how the lives of women characters prove to be insignificant to men. Additionally, he portrays how the women are always silenced and treated with insignificance in society that they came to accept their life and fate.
All the women in the novel demonstrate an inferiority nature with significance only in relationship to the male characters. For example, the novel always states that the characters had “Dinner with the Tom Buchanan’s…” (Fitzgerald 106). They don’t refer to them as the Buchannan’s or Tom and Daisy Buchannan; instead, they refer to them as the “Tom Buchannan’s,” meaning just Tom himself, Daisy’s husband, represents the family and is the most important person in the family. It portrays the unimportance of Daisy and how she is only known as Tom’s wife and not her own person, which fits the patriarchal society of that time. In addition, the author describes the scene when Myrtle Wilson dies from a car incident by describing, “…Her left breast swinging loosely like a flap…” (Fitzgerald 138). Fitzgerald uses the simile “like a flap” focusing on “her left breast” and not any other part of her body, which sends the message of how, metaphorically, her sexuality is what killed her. It also shows how weak and insignificant Myrtle is as a woman character by using the term “loosely.” this is how Fitzgerald demonstrates women as insignificant with an inferiority nature in the novel.
The lives of women characters prove to be insignificant to men. This is shown through Jordan Baker and Myrtle Wilson’s lives. In a scene describing Jordan Baker, the author states, “She wore her evening dress, all her dresses, like sports clothes” (Fitzgerald 11). Jordan tries to show her independence and to not be controlled by male characters by portraying a boyish figure; however, that still does not change the way she is treated by men, just like the rest of the women, as insignificant. Furthermore, in a scene that includes Daisy, Myrtle, and Tom, Myrtle shouts, “‘Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ shouted Mrs. Wilson. ‘I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai–‘ Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand” (Fitzgerald 37). Myrtle represents women of the working class during the 1920s of how she believes in the American Dream. She is not content with her life, and she believes that Tom, who she is having an affair with, is going to leave his wife, Daisy, and take her away from the Valley of Ashes, which he never does. Instead, when she mocks Daisy, he chooses to hit her because he does not really care about her and is just using her for entertainment. She is exposed to patriarchal treatment because Tom has the power and authority in their relationship and he decides when he wants to meet her and when he does not. This is how women are shown as inferior in men’s eyes.
Women in the novel are always silenced and treated with insignificance in society that they accepted their life and fate. An example of this is when Daisy talks about her daughter explaining, “And I hope she’ll be a fool–that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” (Fitzgerald 17). This shows how Daisy realizes how she does not have control over her life, just like the rest of women at that time, which makes her admit that about her daughter. She wants her daughter to be “a fool” so that she does not realize how miserable it is to be a woman at that time, so she can be happy. Furthermore, another novel written about the 1920s, that portray women in the same way, is the novel No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. One scene in the novel between husband Llewelyn Moss and wife Carla Jean Moss states, “Llewelyn (L): ‘What? Quit hollerin’… You keep runnin’ that mouth I’m gonna’ take you in the back and screw ya’.’ Carla Jean Moss (CJ): ‘Big talk.’ L: ‘Keep it up.’ CJ: ‘Fine I don’t wanna’ know. I don’t even wanna’ know where you been all day.’ L: ‘That’ll work'” (McCarthy 16). Llewelyn constantly “threatens” Carla Jean in his way of speaking to her, showing how she is not that important for him. Then, Carla Jean just accepts that and tells him that she does not want to know anything because she gave up on trying to care and proving her importance, just like the women characters in The Great Gatsby. This is how the novels show how women just accepted their role in society during the 1920s.
Consequently, Fitzgerald portrays the women characters in his novel the same way they were portrayed during the 1920s, as weak, inferior, and insignificant. Their significance depends on their relationship with male characters. Their lives seem insignificant to the men characters. They are always silenced and controlled by men to the point that some just accepted their roles in society during that time. Even though the roles of women started to change during the 1920s, it still was not that significant of a change until decades later. As for the novel, even Fitzgerald himself admitted that it is “a man’s book” which explains the insignificance of women characters in his novel. This is how the author represents women as inferior with no important roles in society.

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