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February 9, 2005

Fitzgerald men

What sort of charm does a man have to hold for a girl of the 1920s to be head-over heels for him? There are only a few examples given in the characters found in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

One thing for sure, he can't be "hulking" like Tom Buchanan, who punches his girl-on-the-side Myrtle Wilson right in the face. He broke her nose... I have a difficult time believing that anyone could find that an attractive quality. Moira gets the picture, too--how can no one find wrong in this?

Tom and Gatsby contrast so greatly and neither is terribly appealing to any woman in the story; even Nick Carroway, who is nowhere near the characteristics of either man, doesn't really attract any women beyond Jordan Baker.

But the men in the book have to be found attractive in some manner. Moira also mentioned some unbalanced terms being used to describe the genders within this book: girl vs. man is an obvious one, but addiitonally there are little things like the metaphors. The one that sticks out to me the most is from the same passage that Moira quoted:

"In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars."

Think of a moth--dainty and discreet, it can blend with scenery, it's attracted to flames (which will kill it), and moths are generally not regarded on the same level of beauty as butterflies. Like many species of animals, the male is the more beautiful for mating reasons. Think about cardinals, peacocks, lions... Could this be a parallel in this book? I could be speculating, but I think it's possible :-)

I've read this story before, and it's one of my all-time favorites--especially because of the time period. Although, it has been some time since my last critical read... I'm hoping to get more out of it this time, and not just because I'm reading it in college, but because I really think that this group of people in my class can bring me some new perspective and insight. I'm looking forward to that.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at February 9, 2005 1:23 AM


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