6 January, 2013
Lois Tyson's lesbian, gay, and queer theory reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby was accurate concerning Nick Carraway, but far from the truth with other characters. Her depiction of Nick Carraway's perspective of Gatsby and Jordan make perfect sense, if Nick Carraway is in fact gay. But, I do not believe that Gatsby and Jordan are homosexual in reality.
Nick's encounter with McKee is striking proof of his homosexuality. Tyson says, "Nick's 'following' him out of the room, the lunch invitation, Nick's following McKee into his bedroom, McKee's sitting in bed attired only in his underwear..." (344) When put into prospective, these actions have a strong homoerotic subtext, that make the reader question Nick's said heterosexuality. Next, Tyson comments, "Nick's attraction to Jordan seems to have a homoerotic dimension because of his fixation on her boyish appearance." (348) Nick is constantly describing Jordan with masculine appearances such as, she has a "hard, jaunty body"(346.) Nick's attraction to Jordan shows his denial of his homosexuality through his compensation of having a relationship with a woman that reminds him of a man. Tyson also comments about Nicks focus on "Gatsby's feminine qualities, which mirrors his focus on McKee; his intense appreciation of Gatsby's 'gorgeous' appearance and 'romantic readiness'". (347) To me, it is clear the Nick Carraway is homosexual, although he might not be aware of it himself.
Tyson's view on Tom Buchanon also makes perfect sense to me. Tom is a strong figure, who wants to make sure people portray him in the "right" light, i.e. a rich, heterosexual, powerful man. Tyson says, "...macho overcompensation is directly related to homophobia: Tom's need to prove his own manhood leads him to attack anything he perceives as an indication of homosexuality in others." Tom often bashes Gatsby's choice of flamboyant clothing to prove that he is far manlier than Gatsby. Although, when Tyson comments on Gatsby's grooming and flamboyancy as 'gay signs', I have to disagree. It is clear that Gatsby is far from gay, as his life has been focused on impressing and capturing the love of Daisy.
Tyson's lesbian, gay, and queer theory reading the The Great Gatsby proved to be highly interesting and partially correct. I strongly agree that Nick Carraway has the possibility of being homosexual due to his actions throughout the novel, and his perspective of the characters he is attracted to. The part I have a hard time agreeing with, is Tyson says that since Gatsby grooms himself and his dress is flamboyant, he is subject to being homosexual as well. And because Jordan has a unisex name and sightly resembles a man, she is subject to being a lesbian. It is very possible that Gatsby is a metrosexual, and the reasoning behind his clothing and grooming is to prove his wealth and superiority. When you see a well dressed man on the street, do you assume he is gay? Or a girl with a boyish figure, is she most likely lesbian? These are strong stereotypes that are often abused and often misleading and untrue.