Professor Name Class Date Month Year A Study of Feminine Power in Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby Jane Austen wrote her novels in a span of a few years from 1810 until her death in 1817. As a female writer in the early nineteenth century, she stepped out of the prescribed gender role for women of her status by writing and making a small living from selling her works…
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby after World War I in the early 1920s. Critics touted this work as the new great American novel, claiming it was a realistic look at the dying of the “American dream.” He wrote about urban middle to upper class Americans during the heydays of the 1920s. Fitzgerald wrote women from a male point of view and over 100 years later than Austen’s women in Pride and Prejudice. However, his maleness did not prevent him from writing true to life, multifaceted women characters of his era. Despite the obvious differences in the authors’ points of view, the story lines are similar because both deal with complex masculine and feminine roles and issues between the two. In spite of differences in time and location, both novels are similar as they both suggest education gives power to women to act as independent people. However, the women in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice seem to come out happier, while the female characters in Fitzgerald’s work are less happy even though the society in which they live is supposedly freer. In the end, maturity rules the characters’ choices. Granted, it seemed on the surface women had more independent power in the 1920s. American women’s foray into the male sphere began as soon as the ink on the Constitution dried. While John Adams had ignored Abigail Adams’ pleas to “remember the ladies” when writing the new nation’s laws, women were making advances into independency. Almost immediately, because of women such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Catharine Beecher, and Judith Sargent Murray, females in the U. S. had more avenues of education open to them than before. For them equality would be gained through education. After the Civil War, when there was a generation of single women who were college educated, and they advanced into the male domain even more. The U. S. was becoming more urban and industrialized as the century ended. In England, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, women of the upper classes usually received their educations through tutors or governesses their families hired. Educating women gave them rational choices about their futures besides marriage. However, Austen’s world had few avenues for advancement outside the bounds of marriage. The women in Austen’s world had fewer choices than women in the U. S. in the 1920s. While education allowed women to move toward and into the male domain, this movement was usually enjoyed by the middle and upper classes. Both of the novels are class bound in the upper classes, therefore the lower classes are not fully represented in them. Women in the lower classes were usually too busy working for survival to recognize class or gender shifts. However, by the 1920s, lower class women were at the forefront of the flapper movement. Upper class women were emulating lower class women for the very first time. Flappers were living alone in the city, dressing in short, flirty skirts, bobbing their hair, smoking cigarettes, drinking gin from bathtubs, and living openly sexual lives. Religion had very little influence on a flapper. Women’s power was evidenced by their independent actions. However, that power was not all encompassing. But the 1920s in the U. S. were such a time of transition from old values of marriage and home to independent actions. Fitzgerald’s text demonstrates that women having affairs were still ostracized by ...
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