Last Updated on September 13, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 348
Extended Character Analysis
Jordan Baker is the childhood friend of Daisy Buchanan. A professional golfer, she quickly attracts the attention of Nick Carraway, and the two begin a romantic relationship. Nick is initially taken in by Jordan’s apparent detachment from the rest of the elitist East Egg society. However, she quickly proves to be just as vapid and dishonest as the rest of the “secret society.” She is impulsive, and Nick describes her as “incurably dishonest.” She is also extremely cynical, a stark contrast to Nick’s cautious realism and Gatsby’s romantic idealism.
Jordan differs from Daisy in that she is a career woman, valuing independence and taking an unsentimental approach to relationships. Whereas Daisy is quick to marry and content to be a wife and mother, Jordan avoids commitment because she cannot stand the thought of putting herself at a disadvantage in a relationship. Her competitive spirit shines through in her chosen career as well, going so far as to cheat in a golf tournament. Jordan is also physically distinguished from Daisy, described as tan and fit, with “sun-strained eyes,” whereas Daisy is soft and pale. The physically unimposing and unhappily married Daisy seems to represent everything that Jordan is trying not to be; Jordan clings tightly to her independence.
Jordan loves to gossip and uses dishonesty and dry, cynical commentary on her surroundings as a means of maintaining control over her emotions. Her need for control also expresses itself in her posture, which is often described as “erect” and “stiff.” Though Nick lumps her in with the “careless” East Egg elites, she is anything but careless with herself. However, she does crave attention and affection, as indicated by her chosen career as a celebrity golfer and her frequent dates. On a metaphorical level, her “bad driving” is another way of forcing people to be aware of her without getting too close. Her final words to Nick reinforce this idea, as she says that bad drivers are only “safe” until they meet other bad drivers, indicating that Nick has broken through her protective barriers.
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