Women Of The Great Gatsby Essay, Research Paper
The Women of The Great Gatsby
In F. Scott Fitzgerald s novel The Great Gatsby, a main theme is the contrast between the upper and working societal classes. The novel, set in the twenties displays the contrast between these classes that is still transpiring in the nineties. Jay Gatsby, Jordan Baker, Daisy and Tom Buchanan represent individuals from the upper class, whereas Myrtle and George Wilson are representative of the working lower class individuals in society. We learn about these characters through Nick, a middle class man. In this essay I will focus on contrasting the upper class women- Daisy and Jordan- with the working class woman- Myrtle Wilson- and how one becomes emotionally whole through self expression.
Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker were both born into families with money. When Daisy married Tom Buchanan, she married into more wealth. Jordan s tennis career has kept her with money and thereby allows her to live in the upper class lifestyle. Both women are far removed from the reality of knowing what it is like to work and struggle to get by in life. Both have been able to enjoy the lavish lifestyle of the upper class without having had to work for it.
Both Daisy and Jordan are quite flighty, superficial, and tend to show no real emotion towards anyone or anything. If the emotion does show, generally it is only a flicker; the women then go back to the composed world they belong to. When discussing the birth of her daughter to Nick, Daisy says, 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, 21). This comment may also represent how Daisy feels about herself. After listening to Daisy for a little while longer, Nick feels the basic insincerity of what she had said . Daisy and Jordan s main purpose in life consists of looking good to the outside world.
Myrtle Wilson is the complete opposite of these women. She is an expressive, defiant, desperate woman filled with an explosive vitality. After marrying George Wilson her dreams for an upper class lifestyle are crushed by the reality that she will never amount to anything more than a service station keeper s wife. In Myrtle s attempt to grab at the upper class lifestyle she engages in an affair with Tom Buchanan- Daisy s husband. By mingling with the upper class Myrtle s intense vitality was converted into impressive hauteur. Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected (Fitzgerald, 35). By having the affair Myrtle is able to live out her fantasies.
Myrtle s sharp character gives her more personality than both Daisy and Jordan. More readers are probably able to understand Myrtle s desires and emotions because she does not attempt to mask or have a superficial front to her feelings. Myrtle expresses her true emotions whereas Daisy and Jordan do not. By expressing herself Myrtle is more able to be satisfied than Daisy and Jordan, who take whatever comes to them. In this way Myrtle can be defined as the more emotionally whole woman of the three.
Despite always yearning for better, when Myrtle died she was probably more satisfied with her accomplishments and realized the preciousness of life, more than Daisy and Jordan would ever experience in their lifetimes. It is up to each individual to express themselves and seek out their true calling and heart s desire. By not putting up fronts and living in a fantasy life, a person will end up being whole.
F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1925.