Women in the 1920's the Great Gatsby Essay

1564 Words7 Pages
The female characters in The Great Gatsby represent the "New woman" in American society in the 1920's In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts the ways in which American culture was redefined in the 1920s. Due to the economic boom experienced after World War I, the Roaring Twenties were marked by highly active lifestyles, ideal conditions for prosperity, and the social emancipation of women. The feminist movement in the early 1900s not only led to the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, but also inspired a generation of women to value the independence and freedom of their youth. Because of the drastic change in the female role in society, modern women such as Jordan Baker greatly influenced this time period. Through her unconventional femininity and rebellious approach to life, Jordan epitomized a breed of young women who threatened the traditional roles and expectations of their gender. Due to the prominence of the flapper image during the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald created the character of Jordan Baker to fit this stereotype. When Nick first encounters her, she is “extended full length at her end of the Buchanans’ divan”. This relaxed position suggests that she has a care-free attitude, which was common for females in this era. The narrator also claims that Jordan’s “complete self sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from him”. In this statement, he is not only addressing the pride and self-esteem the character exudes while keeping her chin raised and refusing to acknowledge his presence, but also describing a haughtiness that was unremarkable for a young lady of the Roaring Twenties to possess. Even Jordan Baker’s flapper physique reminds readers of the ideal woman of the era when Nick describes her as a “slender, small breasted girl”. In addition, he notices vivacity in her movements and how she self-assuredly wears her evening dresses like sportswear.
Open Document