Female Characters in ‘The Great Gatsby’ and Cormac McCarthy’s ‘No Country for Old Men’?
2004 Words9 Pages
In a novel set in 1920’s patriarchal society dominated by the obsession of wealth, power, chasing dreams and an enigmatic narrator, just how independent can a woman really be? This is the context for the characters in ‘The Great Gatsby’ where, in the aftershock of a world war, there is celebration and the incarnation of women left at home into ‘flappers’, but it is debatable how far they have really changed from traditional housewives. For Jordan this is an exciting transition but more traditional characters such as Tom cling to the past. When a threatening situation looms over them will they run and hide or confront the problem head on, the only way they know, as in ‘No Country for Old Men’? These contrasting reactions could be a result…show more content…
Although set later, the idea of women’s political power and movement is continued in ‘No Country for Old Men’, with the first woman being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981. This is extremely important and could have links to morality and Sherriff Bell and Nick being used as the moral compasses of the novels, rather than women. The teenage hitchhiker in ‘No Country for Old Men’ could be McCarthy’s portrayal of new found female freedom and perhaps offers a feminist perspective. The hitchhiker is very comfortable around Moss from the beginning and is not scared to state what she’s thinking “I don’t think so”. She could be seen as teaching Moss that he is not a bad person and that he can still be moral. However, she is not as naive as she appears and wasn’t going to be fooled by Moss.
However the stereotyped, traditional female caring role is continued by Carla Jean who mothers Llewellyn, when she demands to “see that cut” on his head. However, conflicting again, the use of the imperative shows Carla Jean’s influence over her husband. Fitzgerald also portrays traditional society as the Buchanans are addressed by Nick when he goes to “have dinner with the Tom Buchanans”, using the male name to refer to them. This idea of the superior male supports the idea of no ‘important women character’.