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In the Great Gatsby, the author acknowledges that the female characters are subordinates. There is no woman among the main characters. In the novel, the author portrays the sexual and social freedom experienced by women through the role played and the lives lived by the women characters, such as Jordan Baker, Myrtle Wilson and Daisy, as well as the plentiful of young ladies who were in attendance of Gatsby’s social gatherings. The male character by the name Buchanan, on the one hand, advocates for the paternalism that disregards women to the levels of ornamental objects of males’ desire, while, on the other hand, he is enjoying an affair with Myrtle Wilson. This double standard should be condemned, and Nick, the narrator, seems to understand this and recommend the readers to do so. Though, Nick seems to be against the idea of subordinating women, his effort differs insignificantly from that by Tom. Nick rejects Jordan Baker on the basis of her indifferences and moral inadequacy; his descriptions propose a hidden source of antagonism, and he uses phrases, such as; unfeminine, more of a boy than a lady, androgynous in reference to women. It is evident that there is a covert theme which has not been raised by either the author or the narrator; this concerns the identity and status of ladies (Fitzgerald, 2008).
At some point, Nick makes a strange statement regarding the moral standards of ladies, and that is not the actual truth he pretends, although this is evident from the actions of all the female characters in the book. In his reference to women, he makes this comment towards Jordan, intentionally making the reader relate to his school of thought by applying the pronoun ‘you’: “Dishonesty in woman is a thing you should not blame profoundly”. However, he judges Jordan, and eventually, goes away with her at the end. Nevertheless, Daisy is allowed to live on through ideology, though at the expense of her freedom.
While the narrator seems to make the casual comment on the dishonesty of women, he conveys a supporting contempt for ladies’ ethical capacities, which could also be seen as the manifestation of the narrator’s silliness, which author anticipated the reader to recognize. It is quite serious that there is not a single female character who displays anything short of desire for the material possession and enjoyable times. There is no lady character in the book that seems to understand and care about the narrator’s moral preoccupations, or his longing to understand Gatsby’s devotion to a vision that transcends his restricted self. It is evident that any other interest than a preoccupation with their own interests is beyond the ladies’ characters. Daisy’s ethereal beauty requires the protection and connivance of men to maintain at any expense of her ethical identity, and Gatsby, Tom and Nick are all accessories to this. All the characters contribute to decay and crash of the humanity, either by choice or unconscious cherishing of the lack of admonitory command towards Nick. During the first bash, Nick noticed a number of girls who were not accompanied. They are seen as crucial features of the whirling hedonistic crowds who visit Gatsby’s house, moving in the social tides, with no concern about the source of the Gatsby’s possessions (Fitzgerald, 2008).
By the time ‘Jazz History of the World’ was over, “women were laying their heads on the men’s shoulders in the convivial manner; they were fainting playfully into men’s hands, knowing that there was someone to arrest their fall”. Girls, though liberated, depend upon men. Most of the female characters seem to contribute to their share of crudity that appalls Daisy. On the other hand, wives seem to come from a more stable world, though the spontaneity and freedom of Gatsby’s bash blemishes the marriages.
Myrtle Wilson is introduced into the scene through a phone call that caused disturbance at Daisy’s dinner party, creating the tension between the wife and the husband. Her social class is depicted by a critical remark from Jordan Baker, “Tom has got a woman in New York”, who lacks “the decency not to disturb during dinner.” The author has tactically inserted the presence of this intruder into the Buchanan’s wealthy world. She is used to represent unconcealed and overt sexuality. Her flowery name implies a beautiful climbing plant, energetically moving upwards, but she is curtailed from realizing her dreams. Her fleshiness is emphasized by her wearing a dress that is stretched tightly over her hips. Her manner is seen to be affectations, sharp and almost comic. In spite of her affectations and ambition to get to the top of the world, she is not ludicrous. Her liveliness is evident, as she controls the people whom she interacts with in the novel. Her language is direct, full of energy, unselfconscious of her sexual needs. She falls for Tom because of his masculinity and social style. To some extent, her sexuality is a complement of Gatsby’s romantic obsession for Daisy. There is no other character in the book who expresses such urgency of desire. It can be seen in the way she talks to her husband.
The women characters are depicted to make some efforts in moving away from the social convention of their classes, for which they all suffered: Myrtle Wilson is destroyed; Jordan Baker lost her femininity and integrity; Daisy is tempted several times to break out, but she deterred, and remained in the captive position to the end of the story. The evidence of the novel implies that the author was fully aware of the changes in women’s roles, in post-war time, though he viewed them with mixed feelings. Daisy is in love with her exclusive position to make an attempt to assert freedom. Sexual love is fraught and problematic with uncertainties in this book for both genders (Fitzgerald, 2008).