Are the Women in "The Great Gatsby" Presented as Immoral?

Topics: Morality, Social class, Fictional socialites Pages: 3 (1202 words) Published: November 4, 2012
The women in the novel, Jordan, Daisy and Myrtle, are often seen as immoral. How do you respond to this, taking into account the novel’s social and cultural context? Immorality is defined as “not conforming to accepted standards of morality” and so when judging the women in “The Great Gatsby” one must keep in mind the arguably low standards of morality in the 1920’s. For example, in Gatsby’s parties the consumption of alcohol is not presented as immoral even though prohibition was underway. The abundance of alcohol even seems natural, highlighting the mistreatment of the law, as cocktails are “seized out of the air”. Even though alcohol was banned, the people consuming the alcohol weren’t being immoral because they were conforming to these “accepted standards”. It is interesting to view these women with the social and cultural context in mind as they affect the judgement of whether they are immoral or not. Daisy and Myrtle were both having affairs, and although this is clearly dishonest, the fact that their marriages were built on convenience rather than love makes the infidelity more acceptable. Throughout the novel, there is a theme of unsatisfied couples. For example in chapter 2 Myrtle proclaims that her husband isn’t fit to “lick my shoe” and in chapter 3 a women blames her husband for wanting to leave “whenever he sees I’m having a good time”, when in fact they are one of the last to leave the party. This shows how insincere marriage has become and so offers a motive for the affairs. Daisy married Tom for the financial stability and comfort he offered her and so when Jordan tells us about how reluctant Daisy was to marry him and how much she loved Gatsby, the reader’s favour the relationship with Gatsby. Daisy and Gatsby’s first kiss is described with the romantic atmosphere – “there was a stir and bustle among the stars” which contrasts to Tom’s “harsh” and “restless” presence. This makes the reader sympathise with Daisy when she meets Gatsby again, and...
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