Materialistic or Materialized: An Analysis of Female Characters in The Great Gatsby毕业论文_英语毕业论文

Materialistic or Materialized: An Analysis of Female Characters in The Great Gatsby毕业论文

2021-04-07更新

摘 要

《了不起的盖茨比》是美国著名小说家、被誉为爵士年代言人的弗朗西斯·斯科特·菲茨杰拉德的代表作之一。本篇论文旨在分析小说中信奉物质至上的女性形象和她们被物化为男性欲望与幻想的对象的社会处境,以及隐藏在物质主义至上以及被物化两者之间的因果关系。同时也拟探讨这种关系背后小说作者的创作动机,指出,无论是小说作者自身对女性带有的固有成见又或是时代背景下以男性为主导的父权社会都是使得女性被物化成男性欲望与幻想的对象,被贬低,被妖魔化,从而形成小说中一群深受拜金主义影响,信奉物质主义之上女性形象出现的根本原因。

关键词:物质主义至上,被物化,创作动机,偏见,父权社会

Contents

1. Introduction 1

2. Demonstration 3

2.1 Materialistic Female Characters 3

2.1.1 Female Characters’ Craze for Luxury 3

2.1.2 Female Characters’ Materialistic Choice of Men 4

2.2 Materialized Female Characters 6

2.2.1 Women as Viewed by Tom 6

2.2.2 Daisy as Idolized by Gatsby 7

2.3 Materialistic or Materialized? 8

2.3.1The Author’s Bias against Women 8

2.3.2 The Male Supremacy of the Patriarchal Society 10

3. Conclusion 12

Materialistic or Materialized:An Analysis of Female Characters in The Great Gatsby

Introduction

Francis. Scott. Fitzgerald (1896-1940), was an American famous novelist, considered as a chronicler of the “Jazz Age”. He was born in Sao Paulo, Minnesota. He tried writing a script when he was young. After high school, he enrolled in Princeton University, where he enjoyed a very rich and colorful life. He attended a group of troupes and began writing for the school’s literary journals at the same time. However, he dropped out of school because of poor health. In 1920, publishing his first novel The Side of Paradise made him become a well-known writer in America. After publishing the novel, he married Zelda Sayre in Paris, and met Anderson, Hemingway and many other famous American writers. In 1925, The Great Gatsby was published, establishing his position in modern American literature history and made him became one of the representatives of the “Jazz Age” and the “Lost Generation” as well. December 21th, 1940, he burst heart disease and died when 44 years old in Los Angeles. Fitzgerald not only wrote novels, but also features short stories. In addition to the two works mentioned above, the main works include Tender is the Night (1934) and Babylon Revisits (1931) and Tales of the Jazz Age(1922).His novel showed vividly description of the jazz age, where the distorted society was polluted by extreme spiritual emptiness and moral poverty, which revealed the erosion of human nature by the false American Dream.

The Great Gatsby, first published in1925, once won a high reputation in the world literature, which is now generally considered as a significant classic and masterpiece in American literature. T.S. Eliot was among the first to comment on the book, calling it the first step that American fiction had taken since Henry James. Like rest of his works, the novel presented Fitzgerald’s concern for materialistic society, spiritual wilderness and the disillusionment of American Dream. The novel is mainly about the process of Gatsby pursuing his American dream (Daisy). The author depicted several female characters in this novel which arouse great discussion about the images of “Golden Girl”. His fictions profoundly embodied the spirit of American society in which he particularly described the upper class, since they only ran after material wealth and extravagant life. Common people’s value was extremely influenced by hedonism and their worship for money.

Since this novel characterized Gatsby so successfully, scholars paid much attention to Gatsby, and there has been a number of studies about the hero character. Besides, they analyzed the novel from perspectives like the disillusionment of the American dream, moral degradation, empty spiritual world, and feminism. Few studies have focused on the female characters in the novel and tried to find out the root for materialistic qualities of these female characters.

Therefore, this thesis aims to analyze the image of materialistic female characters and their position of being materialized as male fantasy and desire in the novel. The paper would also try to analyze the relationship between them. The main body of the paper is divided into three parts. The first part is to analyze the materialistic image of female characters in this novel, Daisy, Wilson and Baker, who are all crazy about luxury. Even their choices of lovers are all based on money and social status. The second part demonstrates that the materialized female characters, who are all viewed as men’s accessories, are in fact materialized as a tool to get into the upper social status. Then the thesis will focus on the relationship between materialistic and materialized. The male supremacy of the patriarchal society makes the female become men’s property and belongings, and they are materialized as items without any rights or feelings. At the same time, the author’s bias against women combined with other factors made the female characters demonized.

Demonstration

2.1 Materialistic Female Characters

In this novel, most female characters were characterized as materialistic women, who all showed strong materialistic desires for luxury. Firstly, they were crazy about luxury and material comfort, and indulged in all kinds of enjoyment. Secondly, when Daisy and Wilson were making choices concerning their lovers or husband, their standard were most materialistic: the first priority should be wealth and social status. Money became the dominant factor when they made the choice. In order to get into the upper class to get rid of the fate of the lower society, and also for the good material conditions, Wilson chose to become Tom’s mistress. Daisy abandoned Gatsby and sought comfort in the arms of Tom, aiming to have stable living conditions and wealth, together with the superiority of upper society. All of her choices and actions were based on the protection and pursuit of her own interests, the money and upper status. Money was the foundation of Daisy’s love, the cornerstone of sustaining her happy life.

2.1.1 Female Characters’ Craze for Luxury

In the novel, we can see all kinds of female characters,their common similarity was the craze for luxury and material life, and the pursing of money and wealth. They enjoyed the life of wearing expensive skirts, driving a limo, living in extremely luxurious villas, going to nightclubs or private parties, and dancing wildly. In those parties, they could meet all kinds of people whoever was famous or rich, and such kind of parties were so extravagant that people took part in them just in order to know rich people who can lead them to luxury life .When Daisy first saw Gatsby’s magnificent mansion with luxurious material life condition, she was unexpectedly happy and wept. “Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. ‘They’re such beautiful shirts’, she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds, ‘it makes me sad because I’ve never seen such a beautiful shirts before’.” (Fitzgerald, 94) The fancy shirts, the bigger house were the cornerstone of happiness in Daisy’s eyes. She couldn’t live without money. Like Daisy, Mrs. Wilson was crazy about material comfort. She said that “I’m going to make a list of all the things I’ve got to get, A massage and a wave, and a collar for the dog, and one of those cute little ash-trays where you touch a spring, and a wreath with a black silk bow for mother’ s grave that’ll last summer. I got to write down a list so I won’t forget all the things l got to do.’’ (123) All these in her mind were material things that could bring the satisfaction. The girls in the party only talked about the latest fashionable clothes and luxury cars, they were all trapped into the crane for material life, lacking spiritual pursuits.

2.1.2 Female Characters’ Materialistic Choice of Men

As the most important female character in this book, Daisy was the most prominent figure whose choice of lover precisely revealed her material-supremacy personality. The three choices Daisy made about the men or marriage showed that she was a prominently materialistic woman.

For the first choice, in order to have a more stable living conditions and wealth, also the superiority of upper society status, Daisy gave up waiting Gatsby and married Tom. The reason why the young Daisy and Gatsby fell in love, was because he deliberately gave Daisy a sense of security, which made her believe that he was a person from much the same status as she was, and he was fully able to take care of her. And then Gatsby went to join the battle abroad. During that time, the young Daisy did not receive any news from Gatsby, facing with enormous family pressures, which virtually made her feel hopeless. “She wanted her life shaped now, immediately and the decision must be made by some force of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality that was close at hand.” (155) And Tom Buchanan was the perfect embodiment. The realistic choice and the temptation of money made the confused girl decide to give up waiting, choosing to take her 350,000 pearl necklace.

After a while, Daisy made her second choice. She decided to get back to Gatsby’s side for the same reason that she married Tom. Almost everyone knew that Tom kept mistress outside, who could even make a call to Daisy’s big house. However, the upper social status made her extremely dependent on money, clinging to her husband. In order not to lose everything she had, she had to ignore her husband’s rudeness and betrayal, but choosing to be tolerant and swallow everything bitter. Just then, the former lover Gatsby, who had become super rich, showed up with a huge fortune, which led her make up her mind to come back to Gatsby.

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