Women's Roles in The Great Gatsby

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 627 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 627|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. 1. The Objectification of Women
  2. 2. The Limited Agency of Women
  3. 3. The Illusion of the American Dream
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Women play a significant role in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby. Set in the 1920s, the story explores the lives of individuals living in the prosperous but morally bankrupt world of the Jazz Age. While the male characters dominate the narrative, the female characters, though limited in their agency, possess their own unique power and influence. This essay will examine the various roles and representations of women in the novel, exploring their impact on the storyline and the broader themes of the work.

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1. The Objectification of Women

One of the recurring themes in The Great Gatsby is the objectification of women. The male characters, particularly Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan, view women as mere objects to be possessed and controlled. Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby's love interest, becomes the embodiment of this objectification. Gatsby idealizes her, placing her on a pedestal and seeing her as the ultimate symbol of his success. This objectification of women reflects the shallow and materialistic nature of the society in which they live.

Supporting evidence for this can be found in the text when Gatsby describes Daisy's voice as "full of money" (Fitzgerald 120). This statement not only reduces Daisy to her material worth but also emphasizes the superficiality of Gatsby's attraction to her. Furthermore, Tom Buchanan openly flaunts his affair with Myrtle Wilson, a working-class woman, treating her as a disposable plaything. These instances highlight the dehumanizing treatment of women and their lack of agency in the novel.

2. The Limited Agency of Women

Despite the objectification they face, the female characters in The Great Gatsby demonstrate moments of agency and resilience. Jordan Baker, for example, challenges traditional gender roles by participating in male-dominated activities such as golf. She is an independent woman who refuses to conform to societal expectations. However, even Jordan's agency is restricted, as she ultimately becomes a pawn in the larger game played by the male characters.

Daisy, too, showcases moments of agency, particularly in her relationship with Gatsby. Although she ultimately chooses to stay with her husband, she exercises her power to make her own decisions. However, this agency is limited by the societal constraints of the time, where divorce and independence for women were frowned upon.

3. The Illusion of the American Dream

The portrayal of women in The Great Gatsby also highlights the illusion of the American Dream. Daisy, as the ultimate representation of wealth and privilege, embodies the unattainable dream that Gatsby strives to achieve. She is not only an object of desire, but also a symbol of the unfulfilled dreams of many characters in the novel.

Furthermore, the women in the novel are often associated with materialism and excess. The parties at Gatsby's mansion, filled with glamorous women, signify the shallow pursuit of pleasure and wealth. This portrayal suggests that women, as the object of desire, are also complicit in perpetuating the illusion of the American Dream.


In conclusion, the portrayal of women in The Great Gatsby reflects the societal norms and values of the 1920s. They are objectified, their agency is limited, and they become symbols of the illusory American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses these representations to critique the shallow and materialistic nature of the Jazz Age. By examining the roles and representations of women in the novel, readers gain a deeper understanding of the broader themes and implications of the work.

It is essential to recognize the significance of women's roles in The Great Gatsby and their impact on the narrative. Fitzgerald's exploration of gender and power dynamics provides a valuable lens through which to analyze the social and cultural context of the time. By acknowledging and critically examining these portrayals, we can gain a better understanding of the complexities of gender and society in the 1920s and their continued relevance today.

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Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner, 1925.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Women’s Roles in The Great Gatsby. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“Women’s Roles in The Great Gatsby.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
Women’s Roles in The Great Gatsby. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
Women’s Roles in The Great Gatsby [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from:
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