Masculinity In The Great Gatsby. Griswold High School, Senior Cp English Character Analysis

1514 words - 7 pages

In The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald , men are defined as “masculine” if they possess the following characteristics: physical strength, control/power, high social ranking, and having money, to name just a few. Men who are strong, wealthy, and have a high standing in society, are masculine. Any man below the man with the most “power,” is categorized into a gray area of figuring out where they stand. At this point, these types of men are at a crossroads between masculinity and femininity, and in order to prove themselves, they are forced to redefine and challenge other men to show their masculinity exists. The man who by definition is the most “masculine,” who holds the most power can be knocked down by someone who ranks below him, because of the fact that masculinity is not permanent or stable. Masculinity is fluctuating, and throughout The Great Gatsby, it is shown that even the most powerful and dominant masculinity can fail in the end. The man sitting at the top who’s the “leader,” must not become too confident and comfortable with where he stands, because if someone from below gains power, they can overthrow him and become stronger. Nick Carraway, Tom Buchanan, George Wilson, and Jay Gatsby all embellish having and lacking manliness and masculinity in areas of power, their social rankings, wealth, having an established identity, their economic powers, and their relationships with the women in their lives.
Tom Buchanan is the dictionary definition of having masculinity: physical strength, social power, wealth, and dominance. Glancing at Tom from a distance, one could easily see he was “a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant  eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body… you would see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage - a cruel body” (Fitzgerald 7). What makes Tom a man is his power looking at him, his power is his patriarchal position as a leader in the world of men. Tom continuously is revived in his masculine power by Nick, George, and Gatsby. Wilson’s wife is Myrtle, who is also Tom’s mistress. Tom gains power because George in  fact is powerless. He cannot keep Myrtle in his control because she seeks out Tom for pleasure while he is married to Daisy. This also makes Tom more powerful because of his ability to take away George’s role of the husband due to the fact that he has no power over his wife. Tom’s role as head of his family is what defines him in a very specific way. As long as he has his wife by his side in matrimony, the lover remains as a dependent outside source only existing for his satisfaction and pleasure. If the wives, Daisy and Myrtle decide to revolt against their husbands, then both men will...

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