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Social Status and Feminism in The Great Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby may appear to be a simple tragic romance; however, within the text, Fitzgerald identifies and defines social gaps and importance of wealth. He also presents women within a very separate space as the men. The Great Gatsby allows the reader to enter into the world of wealth and experience the joys and tragedies of being within this certain class as well as allowing the reader to interpret the position of gender inside the class.

"Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,' he [my father] told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had" (Gatsby 1). This quote was possibly the backbone of the narrator's actions and character. Through out the novel, the characters that he came into contact with were immediately associated with their money and their association with their given level of wealth. The irony of this opening line is that the poor, or less wealthy, were never really even seen by the narrator. The only people that the narrator saw, according to the reader, are the more wealthy and upper class that were associated with Gatsby's parties.

What is even more ironic than the overall absence of the lower classes within the novel is where this neglected level of wealth actually did become part of the novel. Ironically, the only character that lower wealth was associated with was Gatsby. In his past, he was of lower class, but in the actual time when the novel was written, Gatsby was not only representative of wealth, but he seemed to have had the most wealth of all the characters. He was the most prestigious when compared to all of the other characters, yet was the only to have the absence of money in his past. The quote in the p...


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...lar practices and thoughts, or he completely redefined them. By doing so, the novel takes on a new identity separate from its tragic romantic cover. Social status and feminism tower over the lost and found love that encompasses this novel.

 
Works Cited and Consulted:

Bewley, Marius. “Scott Fitzgerald’s Criticism of America.” In Modern Critical Interpretations: The Great Gatsby. edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 1986. 11-27.

Fetterley, Judith. The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1978.

Fryer, Sarah Beebe. Fitzgerald's New Women: Harbingers of Change. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research P, 1988.

McAdams, Tony. “Ethics in Gatsby: An Examination of American Values.” In Readings on The Great Gatsby. edited by Katie de Koster. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press. 1998. 111-120.

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