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ocr gatsby essay a level

hi there,
i did an essay and wanted to ask if anyone could please read it and give me feedback. For reference, i do ocr english literature a level. Ik that this section has ao4 however, the essay excludes it since we've not covered that in school.
Thank you!
Heres a link to the level descriptors:

‘Fitzgerald’s presentation of the role of women in ‘The Great Gatsby’ is reflective of societal attitudes towards them in the 1920s’ (30 marks)

Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ is set in the decedent era of the Jazz Age where morality decayed, economy boomed and hedonism illusioned people from reality, ultimately resulting in change in the role of women in the period. Fitzgerald’s presentation of women in the novel, through the characters of Myrtle, Daisy, and Jordon, highlight the new post-war, modernist society that provided more independence for instance through the ‘New Women’ movement. Their initial traditional roles of being a caring wife and mother were now challenged against, questioning their role now. Although people’s attitudes towards the role of women were changing, many treated them as commodities, objectifying them for their own satisfaction. Fitzgerald exposes this through the ill treatment of women Myrtle, and daisy by Tom to highlight the extreme consequences.

Fitzgerald mirrors the evolving society of the roaring twenties through his presentation of women as they challenge traditional roles but expose the immorality its caused. Daisy, for instance, is shown to be “pretty cycynical about everything” even her daughter, Pammy, who is only mentioned once. However, unlike the ‘New Women,’ she does take on the role of a wife and mother but executes it in a very careless and senseless demeanour questioning “what will we do with ourselves this afternoon” and the “next thirty years”. The cynical nature she presents may initially be thought to be because of her husband’s deceptiveness, however, as we read further to when she finally reveals about Pammy’s existence, we notice that it’s her frustration towards the patriarchal society that has trapped her into a never-ending vicious game, restricting her of financial independence, even with the vote recently given to women. Daisy, as Linda Pelzer writes in ‘Beautiful fools and Hulking Brutes’ is challenging the role of women in a cynically passive manner. This might because of the many restrictions women of elite, traditional backgrounds faced in the era, albeit the ostentatious and opulent lifestyle cultural dynamism provided at its peak or may alternatively be a result of the pressures of needing to be the “perfect women” in the period. Additionally, her method of challenging the societal expectations for women in such a manner highlights that she is unable to be silenced forever. The climax of her passiveness, and subtle rejection to patriarchy has ultimately led to her search for freedom through immorality (via infidelity) with Gatsby. Although Fitzgerald does carry feminist ideas through his critique of gender hierarchy and inequality enforced throughout his work, it could be said that through the Nick, the narrator, his ill exposure of the morally decaying attitude of women is overall is an extreme bias response holding the women in the novel to a higher standard compared to let’s say Wolfsheim, who commits multiple attempts of bootlegging and immorality. Overall, Fitzgerald criticizes societies slow progression away from patriarchy by highlighting its consequences of immorality the careless demeanor it evokes to women in the 1920s, who even if they had no intentions of challenging their role, where inclined to do so.

Fitzgerald reminds readers that in this time of overall progression, women were still treated as commodities specifically through the energetic, lower-class character Myrtle. Her experience of exploitation by Tom’s “open hand” highlights how much worth proletariat women had in a society revolved around the idea of class and wealth. Furthermore, it exposes the manipulative manner men like tom embodied to satisfy their own sexual desires at a time where prostitution was at its peak in a once traditional, closeted society. Tom provides Myrtle with the unrealistic illusion of the American Dream when giving her a taste of the upper-class opulent lifestyle money provided in the economic boom only to the rich thanks to capitalism. The “small living room, small dining room” provided to her highlights the extent of toms love and need for her very minimal. Her presence for him is to relive the thrills of his youth overall resulting in his decaying moral compass and commodifying others. Fitzgerald may have done this to focus on the consequences the great war had on the lost generation. The horrors experienced has resulted in much skepticism in the country, ultimately resulting in purposelessness present in people’s lives. Alternatively, the description of the setting to describe myrtles objectification and physical purpose (to tom) highlights the consequences of industrialization creating a further division and hierarchy in society and allowing for this to happen. Unfortunately, however, Myrtle’s objectification follows her through her death as well, with “her left breast swinging loose like a flap” as she gets hit (by Daisy). The grotesque imagery highlights how even in such tragic death, her sexuality is exposed, emphasizing the destruction of her feminine aspects aspects used to try to achieve the unachievable. Through a feminist lens, her death may perhaps be the punishment of being overtly sexual in a society that mostly benefited rich men. Her sensuality, in contrast with Daisy’s when with Gatsby is much more unacceptable to the standards of society in the period for instance through her telephone rings in chapter 1. Overall, Fitzgerald is highlighting that although women had more freedoms in the period, they were most definitely not free from ill treatment and commodification.

Finally, Fitzgerald’s presentation of the role of women is reflective of the period as it highlights the empowerment they experienced thanks to the financial freedom. The character that embodies this is Jordon Baker, as she, through her career, contrasts the traditional ideals of femininity and likewise to unreliable narrator Nick, is a bridgeway between the new and old money. Fitzgerald’s reflection of Jordon’s subversion of gender expectation is highlighted through the name choice being a play on two American Car manufacturers: Jordon Motor Car Company and the Baker Motor Vehicle done ultimately to symbolize the new, modern, and fast lady; alluding to the “fast” reputation and new freedoms she acquired as a flapper in the 1920s. However, the allusion to her “fast” reputation may also highlight how, because of her gender she is criticised much more compared to men for instance through her cheating scandal where she “moved the ball from a bad” position. But this argument could be proved against as her “incurably dishonest” nature is something no one ever “deeply blames” ultimately suggesting the underlying belief in society that women, being the ‘weaker sex’ had not the ability to be that deceptive. This may be, as Churchill states a result of her society “by no means welcoming that [her new women attitude] with open arms” suggesting that the overly critiquing nature of people toward her is because of the unacceptance they have. Furthermore, the freedom she attained now, in this new era has allowed Fitzgerald to make her an allegory of Edith Cummings, the ‘Flapper Fairway’ who was close friends with Ginevra King, the ‘golden girl’ model for Daisy. Cummings, like Jordon, loved to party, dance, and drink even in the period of prohibition. Likewise, Jordon expresses her love towards “large parties” to Nick by saying how “intimate” they are. The juxtaposing nature of this comment suggests that with larger parties, not much is considered rude not many social complacencies attached to it and anonymity is achievable. Furthermore, it could be a point reflecting on the purposelessness of the relationships built in these parties; they are short lived with no real desire to build thanks to the excessive consumerism it provides. Overall, Fitzgerald construction of the femme fatal, Jordon Baker, is done to illustrate the liberation and empowerment flappers had, regardless of the opposition face by others.

Ultimately, Fitzgerald’s presentation of the role of the new women is reflective of the societal attitudes towards them in the 1920s, as it highlights the innate desire they had to break free from the inherent patriarchy present even through decadence and immorality. Furthermore, throughout the novella, women are objectified and used as commodities by the men highlighting the flawed reality. Women’s human capital is not appreciated in such society. However, it is key to conclude that the empowerment of women, regardless of their careless demeanour, is also presented in the novel (through Jordon Baker). This is reflective of the era as women has the right to vote and attain financial independence in the period. Overall, Fitzgerald’s presentation of the role of women in the period is reflective of the society back then.

AO1 = 12.5%
AO3 = 50%
AO4 = N/A
AO5 = 12.5%
Reply 1
Ha I have the perfect platform for you!! It gives you feedback and a grade based on the mark scheme you select. They have OCR A-levels. Check this out: :grin:

Basically you add in the question, select the OCR mark scheme and copy paste your answer --> it gives you feedback on what to improve and the grade based on the exam board you chose. Then you just keep improving the essay and getting feedback on it with the tool until you get the grade you want.

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