Discuss the following statement from The Great Gatsby:"The women characters are merely decorative figures of seemingly fragile beauty."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the statement might not fully account for how Fitzgerald developed the women in his novel.  The statement presumes that the women in the novel lack depth and a sense of multi- dimensionality that makes them such compelling characters.  Jordan could not be seen as "seemingly fragile."  She is amoral, willing to do whatever it takes to assert superiority.  Cheating on a golf course, smashing reputations through gossip, and consolidating her social status are all examples of her characters, traits that help to repudiate the idea of being a "merely decorative figure."  Myrtle endures much in way of pain and torment.  There is little fragile about her.  While she covets something that she may never have, I am not sure she embodies "seemingly fragile beauty."  I think that the closest this description could represent might be Daisy.  Yet, I think that Daisy possesses a sense of complexity that makes her more than "seemingly fragile."  She has the strength to be able to side with Tom at the cost of Gatsby's unwavering commitment to her.  Her duplicity in this represents someone beyond "merely decorative" and "seemingly fragile."  In these examples, I see the statement being challenged.


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