How are the topics of gender and sexuality discussed throughout the text The Beautiful and the Damned?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One way of responding to this question would be through an analysis of the character of Gloria, and in particular the way that so much attention and importance is given to her looks and beauty. We are presented with a world where so much of a woman's identity is based on their physical beauty, and this is particularly true for Gloria, who starts the novel as the model of a perfect flapper, and then is shown to lose her beauty through inertia and alcohol. As a result, her character moves from being a youthful source of energy to being a disappointed and disillusioned old woman who has lost her looks.

The setting of this novel presents us with an image of society where the value that is ascribed to women is based on their physical attractiveness and wealth. When both are in jeaopardy, the value that is afforded to Gloria becomes threatened. So much of Gloria's self-esteem and thoughts about her own value stem from her own beauty and wealth.



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