Language Arts 5
Misleading and Easily Distracted: Lois Tyson’s Feminist Reading of The Great Gatsby
Lois Tyson’s Feminist reading of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, much like her description of the lens itself, seems easily distracted. She spends most of the time talking about the current issues in our patriarchal society, and little time talking about the actual book. In the little time she does tough, she seems to be trying to fit aspects of the story into the box of feminism, but they can’t fit. First, Tyson writes on page 122 in reference to Daisy, Myrtle and Jordan, “They are portrayed as clones of a single, negative character type: shallow, exhibitionist, revolting, and deceitful.” She then claims that these characters women. However, this seems much more of a statement on economic status through a Marxist lens; they are rich, and therefore snobby and shallow. Tyson then writes on page 126, “surely, the most unsympathetic characterization of the three is that of Myrtle Wilson. She is loud, obnoxious, and phony.” She then says that this description is created because of Myrtle’s resistance to the social system. Again, this description seems more like a Marxist commentary, but about middle-class this time. Finally, Fitzgerald writes, “making a short, deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.” Again, Tyson this is about sexism. Though this point is less far-fetched than the others, it sill seems clearly about Tom’s character and not sexism.
Did Fitzgerald like the rich or not?
Does it matter what the author intends?
Do you think Fitzgerald was aware of the mild sexism in his book or not?