Throughout most of history women generally have had fewer legal rights and career opportunities than men. Wifehood and motherhood were regarded as women’s most significant professions. Considering that the role of women in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was kept mostly concealed and unrecognizable throughout the whole novel, Fitzgerald uses small yet potent words in the form of imagery to show the power of women in the book. As a result he maintains the innocence and gracefulness of the multiple women in the story.
All the women in the Great gatsby posses this mysterious but powerful influence over a man in the story. Gatsby although innocent, takes the blame for Daisy’s murderous mistake.
Yes,.. he said after a moment, but of course I’ll say I was. You see, when we left New York she was very nervous and she thought it would steady her to drive – and this woman rushed out at us just as we were passing a car coming the other way. It all happened in a minute, but it seemed to me that she wanted to speak to us, thought we were somebody she knew. Well, first Daisy turned away from the woman toward the other car, and then she lost her nerve and turned back. The second my hand reached the wheel I felt the shock – it must have killed her instantly (Fitzgerald 143).
This shows how Daisy although completely guilty, does not have to take responsibility for her actions because Gatsby will take the blame and leave her fully innocent. Another example of a women having power over a man is when Myrtle Wilson(Tom’s Mistress) teased Tom (who is a very confident man) to the point of complete frustration that he striked Myrtle. ‘Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ shouted Mrs. Wilson. ‘I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai –Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.”(Fitzgerald 37)
Tom has a fondness for both Daisy and Myrtle so when Myrtle teases him about Daisy his immediate reaction is to strike her.
The women display their power by showing off how they use their “feminine Space.” The image the author is trying to show is how Daisy is showing off how Daisy and Jordan are being shown as enormous with power. “The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon.”(Fitzgerald 8) The image the author is portraying is how Daisy and Jordan are careless and stress free because of the money that they posses. The author is showing how Daisy and Jordan both are very elegant and rich which in the society the setting is taking place in, it means they posses enormous power. “Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols, weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans.” Instead of being compared to a “buoy”, now they are being compared to silver idols. Fitzgerald does this to deepen the paradox that he is creating that illuminates the portrayal of female characters in the novel and how the discourse of the novel at first seems to be traditionally patriarchal of the women’s portrayal but is in actuality feminist in tone.
Women are to be discussed primarily in order to understand the male characters. Women are valued more when they increase the value of men that are around them. Daisy explains her views on life, specifically how women are supposed to act.
It’ll show you how I’ve gotten to feel about – things. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool (Fitzgerald 16-17).
Since Fitzgerald took the time to explain Daisy and Tom’s past, this gives the reader some insight and some evidence to infer the kind of relationship Tom and Daisy are in. This is one of the ways Fitzgerald uses Daisy’s power and voice to describe her spouse. At one of Gatsby’s many parties, a woman makes a request to Nick, “Reach me a rose, honey” (65). In this quote the woman is speaking directly and making a command to Nick that he must comply with. With this action, Nick indirectly characterizes himself as a gentlemen by complying with the request of the woman.
Overtime, The Great Gatsby shed light on the issue of women rights all over the world. But as discussed, women power was overall hard to find but was a huge theme throughout the entire novel. The use of imagery also enhanced the difficulty to recognize the influence the women actually possessed. In which Daisy a character described as fragile still holds an immense amount of power over others.