How does The Great Gatsby connect to emerging women's roles in the 1920s?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Fitzgerald did much to link the growing role of women and control over their own senses of identity to the time period.  The overall effect was to display a period of complete and almost reckless independence with little in way of something substantive and relevant for the future.  In this, women and men both are victim to the belief that their freedom and independence can substitute the stinging nothingness that ends up plaguing them.  The women in the novel are not passive about their state of being, standing by as "shrinking violets" while men are the active agents.  Jordan Baker might be more of a man than most men around her.  She's shown to be fairly cut throat and intense in terms of seeing what she wants and taking it.  There is little in terms of passivity and secondary nature in her.  Even Mytrle Wilson, constantly used and abused by Tom, is shown to be an active agent of her own being in the way she scorns her husband and wishes to see herself as something more than what she is.  Daisy is also someone who seeks to better her life, being immediately attracted to that which ends up helping her.  This shows her as a woman who is motivated by knowing what she wants and being able to attract it.  In these depictions of women, Fitzgerald sees individuals who are in power of their own bodies, able to use sex in an active manner, and women who are able to actively construct their own identities, something that is reflective of the emerging role of women in the time period.

northey2012 | Student
1920's = women were liberated 1920's = women were flirtatious and infidelity was rife( just like the females within the novel) Just as the females did in the 1920's and the novel they used there sex to get what they wanted.
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The Great Gatsby

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