ALL202 Sample Quiz Questions and Responses
Women are more objects of desire than agents of their own lives in The Great Gatsby. Do you agree?
In the novel there is a strong attraction between Daisy and Gatsby, as Adam Meehan states “Daisy—as mere place-holders for Gatsby’s deeper desire. The first kiss marks the moment when Daisy as commodity fetish and as object-manifestation of Gatsby’s pre-existing desire intersect.” Throughout the novel Daisy is rarely described as her own person but rather an object fought over by Gatsby and Tom, Daisy’s daughter is only mentioned briefly and that is the only connection the reader has to her as a woman in control of her own life. “At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete,” Fitzgerald here again describes Daisy as an object, a flower coming into bloom only when a man kisses her. Women are seen as a closed flower, nothing of importance if they are not objectified by a man. “Gatsby’s symbolic transformation from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby has already set his desire in motion before he meets Daisy; she simply becomes its object manifestation.” Again Meehan states here that Gatsby is more concerned with his own image and transformation, Daisy is merely an object that he manifests his desires into. It is obvious that women are treated as objects of desire, rather than independent women who could make it by on their own. Fitzgerald may have argued that, that concept would not have had the same literary appeal. There must always be a damsel in distress.
Fitzgerald, F 2010, The Great Gatsby, Harper Collins Publishers, London pp. 47-140.
Meehan, A 2014, ‘Repetition, Race, and Desire in The Great Gatsby’, Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 37, no.2, pp. 79-82.
Feedback: This is a carefully condensed and polished response. Remember to page reference any quotes from the primary text. It engages with some of the more difficult concepts raised in the course like objectification.
“Women are more objects of desire than agents of their own lives in The Great Gatsby. Do you agree?”
The lead female roles, though in particular that of Daisy Buchanan, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby are often the object to their male counterparts’ desire, or the reason for the male being.
Daisy, in particular, was the object of Gatsby’s desire and motivation for his being. The green light at the end of her dock, the light Gatsby watches religiously from his own place on the West Egg, is synonymous with the illusion of Daisy. The allure is the unattainable; the light that never got any closer. It is inevitable that reality cannot “compete with…the constructs of desire” (Weinstein 1993, p. 134) and subsequently the fantasy of Daisy is let down by the reality of her. Gatsby has created the Daisy he knows, much like he had created the persona of Gatsby himself. She is no longer Daisy Buchanan but an object of Gatsby’s desire, an imagined old flame, and an unattainable ideal. Indeed, Gatsby recognises that the “colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever” (Fitzgerald 1990, p. 90) and that the real Daisy is not the Daisy he had created for himself, however he persists with the fantasy.
Daisy appears to be heeding her own advice that a “beautiful little fool” is the “best thing a girl can be in this world” (Fitzgerald 1990, p. 22). The woman’s role is diminished to that of a fool, of a character not capable of acting on their own accord, but in accordance with another.
Fitzgerald, F S 1990, The Great Gatsby, Penguin, London.
Weinstein, A 1993, ‘Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby: Fiction as Greatness’, Nobody’s Home: Speech, self and Place in American Fiction from Hawthorne to Delillo, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 131-147.
Feedback: This response might engage with agency further and could be tightened up.