• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent would you agree that in "The Great Gatsby" Fitzgerald reflects a distrust of women and presents the women characters unsympathetically?

Extracts from this document...


Whitley says that distrust of women is a recurrent feature of much American literature in the twenties and thirties. To what extent would you agree that in "The Great Gatsby" Fitzgerald reflects a distrust of women and presents the women characters unsympathetically? Throughout "The Great Gatsby", women are portrayed in a very negative light. Fitzgerald presents the main female characters with moral flaws: Daisy is weak, Jordan is dishonest and Myrtle is having an affair. In 1922, American women did not have the same rights as men and were often trapped in oppressive marriages. Women were viewed as the inferior sex. In 1923, The Equal Rights Amendment was passed to provide more equality between the sexes. This was a direct consequence of the domination of men over women. Many critics argue that the Fitzgerald's apparent distrust of women was due to his turbulent marriage to Zelda Sayre, a Southern Belle. There are many similarities between Zelda and the female characters through out the novel, most of which are negative and present women in a deceitful and dishonest way. Fitzgerald's presentation of women is very unflattering. Nick describes Jordan Baker as "incurably dishonest." This introduces the idea of the distrust of women in the novel. Nick also remarks, "Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you can never blame." ...read more.


Nick's comment "they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness...and let other people clean up the mess they had made..." sums up this criticism made of Daisy. She did not stay for Gatsby funeral, and left without leaving an address to be contacted at. She left Nick to "clean up the mess they had made." She also says to Gatsby, "I'd like to get you in one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around." This suggests that she wants to escape with Gatsby, without letting Tom find out. Daisy's inability to take responsibility for her actions leads to the mistrust Fitzgerald has been reflecting throughout the novel. Myrtle Wilson can be viewed unsympathetically. She is having an affair with Tom, and has hopes of leaving Wilson. She can be viewed unsympathetically, because she seems able to use any means possible to get on the world, including sleeping with another man. This could symbolise Fitzgerald's criticism of the "American Dream" gone wrong in the novel. Fitzgerald reflects distrust in women, because Wilson said, "I told her she might fool me, but she won't fool God." ...read more.


That's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." Daisy is presenting her boredom with life, and suggests a girl can have fun if she is attractive, yet simplistic. This creates sympathy for women, because Fitzgerald understands their position and lack of power. Jordan Baker has sympathy created for her. In some ways, Jordan is an anachronism for women at this time. She symbolises the new wave of women emerging in the twenties. Jordan is hard working and self sufficient, she has a masculine name, and also she is described as having an "athletic and boyish" figure. Sympathy is created for Jordan, because she doesn't quite fit in with this era of women. In conclusion, to a very large extent I agree that Fitzgerald reflects a distrust of women. Many argue that this is due to his turbulent marriage with Zelda. Fitzgerald has indirectly blamed two major female characters for the death of the "Great Gatsby" that being Myrtle and Daisy. He has portrayed female characters in a deplorable way throughout the novel. However, it can be noted that the depiction of female characters isn't completely negative. Fitzgerald is able to instil readers of the somewhat harsh realities of life for women in the 1920s, and he is able to capture the restless, materialistic and defiant atmosphere of the post-war era. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    The Great Gatsby - In your opinion how effective is Fitzgerald in evoking the ...

    5 star(s)

    he regularly uses Jordan to 'read aloud to him from the Saturday Evening Post.' The baseness in the nature of Nick's society is shown more collectively in chapter four where Nick lists the kind of people that attend Gatsby's parties whose names Fitzgerald has satirically associated to animals (Catlip, Katspaugh, Ferret, Fishguard, Beaver etc).

  2. “The Great Gatsby” is a deeply tragic novel; “A Handful of Dust” is a ...

    Chapter Five illustrates a matter of great personal meaning for Gatsby: the object of his hope, the green light toward which he reaches. "He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way." Gatsby's love for Daisy is the source of his romantic hopefulness and his meaning of his yearning for the green light in chapter one.

  1. How Has Fitzgerald Presented The Character Of Daisy In 'The Great Gatsby'?

    This shows to the reader how she can easily charm people and cast a spell over them. It also partly explains why later on Gatsby is so in love with her, as he too has been made to believe that in Daisy's eyes there is no one in the world that she would rather be with than him.

  2. The portrayal of women in

    Jordan Baker is only interested on achieving what people expect from her, and in protecting the image that she is supposed to have.

  1. What is the importance of the female characters - Jordan is used by Fitzgerald ...

    This is important as it strikes a comparison between Nick's desire to achieve status through Jordan whilst Myrtle and Daisy do the same through Tom and Gatsby respectively. Jordan also functions as the opposite of Daisy as she is a fully liberated woman of the 1920s whereas Daisy hides behind the shadow of Tom and material luxuries.

  2. Compare the writers’ presentation of the women characters in the novels

    Brett seems a little hard in hurting Mike this way. She is presented as being a somewhat abandoned character, spontaneous and self-orientated, not thinking about the repercussions of her actions ever. She says that she has 'always done just what I wanted'.

  1. ‘The Great Gatsby’ Is often thought of as a novel which reflects the glamour ...

    Nick dictates his thoughts, and being at this stage a somewhat impartial observer, manages to see both sides of the world he has entered. Whilst admitting the obvious means the occupants of this place must have, he also describes his neighbours house for what it actually is "a factual imitation of some hotel de ville in Normandy".

  2. "The Great Gatsby"- Chapter 1 Analysis - Comment on the style of characterisation that ...

    paragraph, and it is illustrated that what happened to Gatsby closed off Carraway's interest in the human condition. Fitzgerald does this by creating a sense of sympathy with emotive language and imagery in his writing- it was "what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out his interest..."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work