Fitzgerald’s success as a novelist was bound up with his representations of women. McCall’s Magazine (October 1925) dubbed him ‘the man who discovered the flapper’ and the Louisville Courier (30 September 1928) called him the ‘Creator of Modern Girl Types’ (RE 132, 112). But he also created notable male characters — Gatsby, Tom Buchanan, Dick Diver, Tommy Barban — in a tumultuous era in which both female and male gender roles, among many other things, were shifting and changing dramatically. Both Gatsby and Tender portray worlds in which (some) women are more emancipated to an extent but remain restricted in many ways, and where emancipation brings other problems, not least through the insecurity it may arouse in men. Men themselves are uncertain of their masculine identities and may become unduly aggressive or passive. In our first extract, we return to an earlier stage of the dinner party at Tom Buchanan’s house which we visited in chapter 2 of this book and see how men and women are shown there.
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