The Great Gatsby

“Discuss Fitzgerald’s Portrayal of Women”

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts a picture of the Jazz Age in the America of the 20’s. His portrayal of the careless way of life of the wealthier members of society is most striking. Daisy, Jordan and Myrtle are all similar in some way. They are all very deceitful and selfish as Jordan cheats at golf and Daisy and Myrtle both deceived their husbands.

Daisy is a beautiful young woman who is in love with money, ease and luxury that she gained from marrying Tom Buchanan. She is the object of Gatsby’s affection and Nick’s cousin. To Gatsby, Daisy represents a model of perfection - she has the aura of charm, wealth, sophistication and grace that he longed for as a child and that first attracted him to her. In reality, however, Daisy falls far short of Gatsby\'s ideals. She is beautiful and charming, but also fickle, shallow, boring, and scornful. Nick characterises her as a careless person who smashes things up and then retreats behind her money.

Daisy regards herself as a victim of her marriage with Tom, as he is aggressive and dominant and she also knows about the affair he is having so she therefore seeks attention from others. She is very flirtatious and speaks quietly so that people will lean towards her. Daisy is very childlike and she proves this when she leads Gatsby on, having no intention of leaving Tom. Daisy was caught up in Gatsby’s dream as she denies her love for Gatsby when he declares it in front of Tom in the hotel room in New York. Even though she may have loved Gatsby in the past, she cannot bring herself to leave the luxury and wealth she already has.

Myrtle’s death seems almost like an anticlimax because it seals Gatsby’s fate, but he had already lost Daisy forever. His decision to take the blame for her in the car accident shows how deeply he still feels for her but she does not return his love. Daisy proves her real nature when she chooses Tom over Gatsby, then allows Gatsby to take the blame for killing Myrtle even though she herself was driving the car. Finally, rather than attend Gatsby\'s funeral, Daisy and Tom move away, leaving no forwarding address. Daisy’s marriage seemed threatened by a quiet desperation beneath its attractive surface.

Much like the Buchanans marriage, Jordan’s surface glamour covers up an inner emptiness. Daisy’s friend, Jordan Baker is a competitive golfer. She is cynical and self-centred. Jordan is beautiful but also dishonest as she cheated in order to win her first golf tournament and continually bends the truth. Jordan was very insensitive on the night of Myrtle’s death and only thinks of herself. She is arrogant, deceitful and careless.

Daisy and Myrtle are contrasting characters as they are both trapped and tricked into marriage. They love the idea of an affair and escaping out of the life they hate so much. Both characters are very strong, determined and focused. Myrtle possesses a fierce vitality and desperately searches for a way out. Unfortunately for her she chooses Tom, who treats her as an object of desire. He feels no guilt for betraying Daisy with Myrtle, but feels compelled to keep Myrtle in her place, breaking her nose when she mentions Daisy’s name. Myrtle is only attracted to Tom and the lifestyle he lives. I feel Myrtle ended the her own life and Gatsby’s. If she had not had the affair with Tom, daisy would not have known and killed Myrtle, and then Wilson wouldn’t have made wrong accusations, resulting in the death of Gatsby.

Fitzgerald portrays each woman in a different way but they all have something in common. Daisy and Myrtle are both linked with Tom, unhappy and victims of their marriages. Jordan is very deceitful as she cheats at golf but so are Daisy and Myrtle because they both had affairs.