The Great (Gatsby) Stereotype

The Great Gatsby is considered to be, by many, as one of  America’s masterworks. It is even claimed by Jonathan Yardley, from The Washington Post, as the finest work of fiction by an American writer. However, it becomes uncomfortably unpleasant with a more meticulous analysis of its perspectives of women and stereotypes. Even Daisy, the main female character in the story, stated,“That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

Throughout the course of the plot, various situations are presented with criticism towards women’s behavior that were not criticized done so when their male counterparts were in in context. As seen in with the dreamlike drunken woman on the stretcher in a scene imagined by Nick, deceiving the readers of the commonness of a woman having no control over herself, dependent and incapacitated, needing a man to carry her. While on the other hand, all men portrayed as drunks throughout the book are undoubtedly able to communicate, formulate ideas, walk and take care of themselves. They are not powerless or helpless, as Owl Eyes (character), the man that had been drunk for allegedly three days in a row, was, even though confusing and unreliable, able to analyze whether the books in Gatsby’s library were real or not, or if they had even been read.

Daisy is attributed with a bad image, when clearly having an affair with Gatsby, while it seems weirdly normal for Tom, her husband, to have a mistress. Women had to be faithful and stay at home, while the men would ‘womanize’. Nick knew about Tom’s affair with Myrtle, but never showed surprised or pronounced himself against it, or never even pondered about telling Daisy, that occurred to be his cousin. Also, as Tom punches Myrtle, nothing is done against him by any of the other four people in the scene. As expected, Myrtle still went back to him, clear evidence of the women’s dependence of men, and how she was just being used for Tom’s mere pleasure.

It could be argued that Jordan Baker, the professional golfer and independent woman, brings up the feminist aspects of the book, and yes, she does, only by the fact that, clearly different from every single other female in the novel, she is independent and completely capacitated without having a husband or any man associated to her. Nonetheless, there is negative notoriety attributed to her for cheating during one of her tournaments. Whereas, nothing is said about Gatsby stalking and being an obsessed  with Daisy, is enough to discard any possible feminist angle pictured in the book. It is implied that without the cheating, Jordan wouldn’t have been able to win the championship and Gatsby’s odd pursue was not relevant because he was a rich and popular man.

The Great Gatsby is undeniably and irrefutably one of the American Masterworks, despite of the vile representation of the way in which women were stereotyped and treated.

Moreover, not only once, Daisy’s necessity for luxury is implied by Fitzgerald in the book, in other words, Daisy appears to be almost a ‘gold-digger’. She married Tom because Gatsby was penniless and when she found out he was rich, she has an affair with him. But soon, the readers are captivated by their affair because Gatsby’s intense hope to recover the past and materialistic love for Daisy is alluring. So, when Daisy leaves the affair with Gatsby in an attempt of reconciliation with her husband, she awakes once again to the readers projecting disdain towards her.  The readers do not, however, project the same disdain towards Gatsby who makes numerous attempts to buy her back, showing off his luxury, throwing huge parties, the same manner Tom buys Myrtle with a house, clothes and even a dog.

Overall, The Great Gatsby is undeniably and irrefutably one of the American Masterworks, despite of the vile representation of the way in which women were stereotyped and treated. Therefore, any analysis of the book should always highlight the faulty and unsuitable way women were viewed and portrayed in the time period the book was written.