Sunday, January 6, 2013

Good Effort, but Fitzgerald Was Just Being Dramatic

Aidan Villani-Holland
Christie Beveridge
Language Arts
7 November 13
Good Effort, but Fitzgerald Was Just Being Dramatic
          In Lois Tyson's Book, Critical Theory Today she continues trying to use every possible criticism applied to The Great Gatsby, which is a valiant effort, but also clearly impossible. In chapter ten, she uses gay/lesbian/queer theory, which is probably the most far-fetched so far in the context of The Great Gatsby.
          First, Tyson tries to use people's transgressions in their various heterosexually romantic relationships to prove the existence of homosexual undertones when she writes on page 343, "For one thing, the three romantic triangles that generate most of the novel's action are all adulterous: Daisy, Tom and Myrtle are all breaking their marital vows. "She tries to point out that almost every heterosexual relationship in the novel involves cheating, which could possibly mean something, except that there isn't a single homosexual relationship in the entire novel to contrast against. Thus meaning that the adulterous nature of the relationships that Tyson describes are merely there to create drama and further the story.
           On page 54 of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald writes, "His short hair looked as though it were trimmed every day." and on pages 97 and 98, he writes, "Shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of Indian blue." Lois Tyson tries to use these quotes as hints that Gatsby is gay because the descriptions can be seen as stereotypically gay. However, these descriptions are clearly just showing the reader Gatsby's ridiculous wealth. When Fitzgerald mentions that his hair is overly groomed, it's simply because anyone with less money would have no possibility of getting their hair cut daily for more than a month before going broke. As for the shirts, colorful clothing has been a sign of wealth for hundreds of years, especially as we look back into the past.
          Furthermore, I can prove that Gatsby's shirts are not a representation of his homosexuality, but a symbol of his wealth. In that very same scene, Fitzgerald writes, "Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily." It is clear throughout the book that Daisy only wants to be with Gatsby if he is part of her upper class. Just as the shirts represent Gatsby's wealth to the reader, they do to Daisy as well. She wants to be with Gatsby, so when she see's this symbol, she is overwhelmed with joy and starts sobbing.
          Over all and as usual, Lois Tyson starts with an assumption that is untrue about the story to use a critical lens that does not fit it. Thus, she ends up grasping for straws on the proof, and the reading ends up lacking in real substance.

-Do you think Gatsby's flashy fashion is a sign that he's gay, or just rich?
-Even if none of the characters are gay, do you think the book is posing any stance about homosexuality?
-Assuming Nick were gay, why was he interester in Jordan Baker?

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