1920’s in America. Women are exploring their

1920’s is a decade marked by changes in the status of women in society as shown by the newly granted right to vote to women in America. Women are exploring their individuality with greater opportunities in education and work. However, women are still not free from the role expected of them by the society. The primary role of taking care of the family takes greater importance than earning a living or building a career. In many cases, this role leads to the oppression of women and it becomes a subject of literary work in that era. Women’s oppression in the 1920’s is reflected in the novel “The Great Gatsby” written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and published in 1925.  Passages from the novel and articles written by feminist critics show the different ways women experienced oppression in the 1920’s.From an article written by Affroni and Hendrarti, the two main characters Daisy Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson “are oppressed by the idea and belief applied in the patriarchal society.” Daisy belongs to a social class categorized as “old money” meaning the wealth of a family came from many generations of wealthy members. Women like her find it necessary to marry a wealthy man in order to maintain their lifestyle and family wealth. Daisy chooses to marry Tom Buchanan instead of waiting for Jay Gatsby. She becomes the trophy wife of Tom Buchanan. Men that time are considered as “more intellectually and physically capable in doing the job” of earning a living so it becomes their responsibility in their marriage union.  This arrangement may seem beneficial to women but it is actually the cause of their oppression. In return for the comfort that they receive from their husbands, they become powerless and therefore dependent on the men. Women cannot act on their own so they fail in discovering their full potential as humans.F. Scott Fitzgerald knew the changes that women in the 1920s were experiencing in terms of opportunity and social status. This is displayed by Jordan Baker, one character in the novel. However, it is a fact that many women were still trapped by expectations imposed on them. They are seen as objects to be acquired making their intelligence irrelevant. Daisy’s corrupt mind is displayed when she talks about her daughter saying, “I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” Daisy’s character is the embodiment of a woman born with privileges and therefore must sacrifice her individuality in order to maintain her social standing. For her, a lifestyle of luxury becomes a reason for enduring oppression.Myrtle Wilson is another character who is an example of oppression of women in the 1920s. She is defined as “as a female character who is strongly influenced by the false belief created by the system.” Aside from Daisy, Myrtle is another unemployed character in the novel so she has no means to improve her life on her own. She betrays her husband George in order to get more possessions from Tom Buchanan. The reason for her relationship with Tom is her value for wealth which her husband is not capable of providing. She becomes the receiver of Tom’s domineering character. In one scene, Tom punches her which results in a broken nose. She is treated badly by Tom but she endures her situation in order to realize her dream. Myrtle’s personality and behavior show her oppression in society since she has to use her body to improve her social standing. In the novel, she is described as fleshy but she is able to achieve a sensual look by wearing dresses that are stretched tight on her body. She is not actually beautiful but she has vitality and sharp manner which she uses to attract Tom. Ironically, that body was violently destroyed by something owned by a man of wealth. She meets a tragic end when she gets killed by Gatsby’s car. Her blood is spilled in the Valley of Ashes where she truly belongs. All the oppression that she endured meant nothing in the end. Affroni and Hendrarti describe Myrtle, “She is ‘trapped in a cage’, unable to perform her full ability as a woman. She abandons her pride, her rights, and her full extent potential as a woman; as a human being.”