Kate LiebmannThe Great GatsbyMs. Stein-Jackter 11H In this excerpt from The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald critiques the carelessness of women.
Jordan Baker cheats at golf, “a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round.” Although she views it as unimportant, Jordan does not earn her success; she feels entitled to it. She does not put serious thought into her actions. Jordan represents the typical “modern woman” of the 1920’s, viewed by society as arrogant and self-centered. However, describing himself as the most honorable and least judgemental person he knows, Nick Carraway feels sympathy towards women because of their supposed weakness. Nick demonstrates this when he recognizes that Jordan Baker is manipulative and “incurably dishonest,” but is not flustered or conflicted by it. Instead, he feels quite sorry.
Fitzgerald uses deceitful-diction and sympathetic-diction in order to contrast Jordan’s selfish qualities with Nick’s patronizing reaction. Jordan is depicted by negative words such as “insolent,” “subterfuges,” and “dishonest,” but Nick considers that typical. He places women on a different scale of morality than men and does not hold them accountable for their bad actions, “dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply–I was casually sorry.” Fitzgerald uses the stereotype of women as bad drivers in order to highlight their ignorance and selfishness.
Jordan is clearly irresponsible, “it takes two to make an accident.” She expects others to be careful on the roads, while she can do whatever she wants because she is entitled. As a self-centered woman, Jordan simply does not recognize the dangers of driving; she feels indifferent about posing a threat to other people. Jordan uses short and choppy sentences, showing her lack of thought and consideration of others. Expressing his concern about possible danger, Nick asked “suppose you met someone just as careless as yourself.” Jordan responded with a quick “I hope I never will.
” She simply does not care enough to give an explanation for her actions. Jordan is not too dumb or incapable of understanding the consequences of reckless driving, she just does not care enough to be cautious. By describing Jordan’s actions in the car, Fitzgerald is able to give carelessness a physical consequence as bad as death.
It foreshadows that carelessness ultimately leads to destruction.