“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
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.