In literature, authors will often times use marginalization of certain characters to help better illustrate the emotions within the story. This allows the readers to get a more in depth understanding of these characters and what they are going through. To be marginalized means to be treated as unimportant or to feel as though a person is powerless in relation to those around them (Merriam Webster, 2018). In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald many social groups were marginalized within the text, specifically people of New Money and women. Throughout the text women were shown as though they could not do certain things and had to follow a set of rules. New Money were also treated as though they were of less importance to those of Old Money. By examining the ways in which women and people of New Money were treated as insignificant and mistreated it will prove that these social groups were marginalized in the novel.
During the 1920’s people who acquired money fast were not respected as it was thought that they acquired it through illegal or immoral means. People who came from wealthy families, often called Old Money, were very highly thought of and generally looked down upon New Money as they did not come about their fortune the same way. In the novel New Money are mainly marginalized by Old Money. Gatsby, who is apart of New Money, is being treated like he doesn’t belong and that he is unimportant by Tom, who believes he is superior to Gatsby and those in that social group. This can be seen when Mr. Sloane’s lady invites Gatsby for dinner, with no intention of letting him come. “ ‘You come to supper with me,’ said the lady enthusiastically… ‘I’ll have to follow you in my car. Excuse me for a minute. ’. . . ‘My God, I believe the man’s coming,’ said Tom. ‘Doesn’t he know she doesn’t want him? ’. . . ‘Come on,’ said Mr. Sloane to Tom, ‘we’re late. We’ve got to go. ’ And then to me: ‘Tell him we couldn’t wait, will you? ’” (Fitzgerald 104-105). In this excerpt, Tom and his friend Mr. Sloane along with his lady stop at Gatsby’s strictly for refreshments. While they are there the lady invites Gatsby over for dinner. As Gatsby is grabbing his coat and hat, the trio starts talking about their true intentions. This quotation shows that Tom and Mr. Sloane don’t want to be seen or associated with Gatsby and that they did not want Gatsby following them to dinner. These actions towards Gatsby shows that they don’t think very highly of him and that he is treated as insignificant to those that come from Old Money.
Since Gatsby worked for his money and was not born with it, Tom chooses to overlook Gatsby and his actions as he is not the same class as Tom and his friends, therefore showing that Gatsby is looked at as unimportant or less than those of Old Money. Based on the reasons above it is evident that Gatsby is marginalized by Tom and his friends who are apart of Old Money. Fitzgerald chooses to show New Money as marginalized by Old Money to emphasize a distinct divide between Gatsby and Daisy’s social class, despite the fact that he now has money. Therefore this creates conflict in the novel as they can never be together due to this marginalization. Throughout history, women have been constantly treated as less than men, and have been marginalized as they have felt powerless and not involved in the many different situations that surrounded them.
This is seen in the novel as women are shown to be weaker and not as important as the men in the relationship. One example where this is shown is when Tom and Myrtle are having an argument in their apartment, and out of rage, Tom breaks Myrtle’s nose. “Some time toward midnight Tom Buchanan and Mrs Wilson stood face to face discussing, in impassioned voices, whether Mrs Wilson had any right to mention Daisy’s name. ‘Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ Shouted Mrs Wilson ‘I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai-’ Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand. ”(Fitzgerald 37). This quote shows Tom breaking Myrtle’s nose because she says his wife’s name. Tom did not feel comfortable with Myrtle saying Daisy’s name as he does not believe that Myrtle is important or good enough to say her name, as she is part of a different social class. Tom thinks that just because he has money and status he can treat people however he wants, which is the case with Myrtle. By Tom controlling her actions and what she says causes Mrs. Wilson to feel powerless and as though she cannot do what she wants when she is with Tom.
As shown above it is evident that women are marginalized by men in the novel. Fitzgerald chose to represent the women in the novel as marginalized as he wanted to give an accurate representation of women at the time and show their struggle of the oppression of men. In conclusion marginalization has been a significant issue over time and is often depicted in works of literature such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. When looking at how women and people of New Money were treated as less than men and people of Old Money respectively, it shows that these two social groups were marginalized within the novel. Throughout the story, Fitzgerald not only teaches us what different social groups had to endure in the 20’s, but also teaches us about issues that are still relevant today. This novel educates people on issues that need to be brought to the forefront of media to help eliminate hate and to allow everyone to be treated as equal to others no matter what your social class is or gender.