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The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has been hailed for its moral significance. The novel’s disdain for corrupted wealth, and its ability to illustrate the “costs of fantasy,” have transformedthe literary work into one of America’s “Great Books.”However, Fitzgerald’s sexist overtones and objectification of women rescind its “great” status and thus its name to merely “The Gatsby.”The moral significance of The Great Gatsby is marred by its treatmentof women. Alone, the objectification of women seen in the novel is not enough to assume Fitzgerald’s view of them, but his own words are. While writing The Great Gatsby,Fitzgerald is quoted to have said that “…the book contains no important woman character” (Turnbull 197).Furthermore, in A Short Autobiography he writes that “women learn best not from books or from their own dreams but from reality and from contact with first-class men.”Fitzgerald was aloof from the activism of the nineteenth amendment and great female authors of his time, and his ill views are reflected through Myrtle Wilson and JordanBaker.Fitzgerald’s narrative style implies that Myrtle pays for herpromiscuity with death. After being hit by Gatsby’s car, she is “violently extinguished, she knelt in the road and mingled her thick dark blood with the dust.” Her body is “wrapped in a blanket, and then is another blanket, as though she suffered from achill in the hot night” (Gatsby 109-110).Her body is described as kneeling, a stance often associated with prayer, as if her death is a result of poor decisions. These poor decisions are her sultry nature, which isconfirmed through the overtly sexual description of her lifeless body. Myrtle’s “left breast was swinging loose like a flap” and her “mouth was wide open and ripped a little at the corners” (Gatsby 109). The narrative combination of Myrtle’s sensuality and kneeling posture convey that her death was a result of her promiscuity. Jordan Baker is another character who displays Fitzgerald’s disdain for women. It is implied that she loses part of her femininity, and over time her increasingly androgynous naturemakes her unappealing, especially to Nick. Her name is a combination of the Jordan Motor Car Company and the Baker Motor-Vehicle Company, of which the Jordan was a masculine sports car.Cars were representative of the newfound freedom that people gained at the beginning of the twenty-first century, so her name was representative of the new roles women were developing into during the same period–often scorned by traditional men.Jordan’s gait is described “asif she had first learned to walk upon golf courses on clean, crisp mornings” (Gatsby42). Nick saw her”extended full length at her end of the divan, completely motionless, and with her chin raised a little, as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall” (Gatsby10).The sport of golf, especially during the twenties, was associated with men, yet somehow Jordan embodied its gait. In addition, her posture on the divan is upright and confident –again qualities typical of a man (women were considered dependent and unsure). Jordan’s manly personality makes her unattractive to Nick, as if Fitzgerald wanted to hinder her social progress. Her calm and cool nature made Nick feel socially clumsy, and he begins to distance himself. He was wildly aroused by Jordan during their first interaction, but breaks up with her “angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry” (Gatsby141).Nick’s temperance of his attraction to Jordan results as she develops male qualities, which demonstratesthat women were more attractive in their existing role –dependent and loyal to men.My criteria for judging literature has changed significantly after reading several “Great Books” this year. One way I now judge literary fiction is by observing if the characters are complicated and unpredictable, rather than cliché. In the Iliad by Homer, Achilles is a complex character. At first glance he is angry with Agamemnon for stealing one of his brides, which seems like a trivial pursuit for great warlords. However, Achilles is really upset over the abduction of his timê –and the actions he carries out throughout the rest of thenovel reflect that.TheOdysseyhas also taught me that a great book does not necessarily have to contain the story of a smooth journey or adventure. Odysseus’s journey was hindered on several occasions, some of which include Circe, the Cyclops, and the Sirens.Likewise, the Great Gatsby’s plot was also very turbulent. Gatsby lived a rollercoaster of a lifestyle, ultimately crashing, but that did not mean the novel took away from intellectual gain.The Great Gatsbyhas been hailed as one of the greatest works in American literature because of its moral significance, which is derived from the downfalls of the novel’s most corrupt and egregious characters. The objectification and patronization of women hurts thismoral significance, especially as a result of Fitzgerald’s own views.The stories of Jordan Baker and Myrtle Wilson exemplify the author’s intent to present those views in the novel, and detract from the overall message that The Great Gatsby conveys.

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