In both ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Jazz’ how the concept of adultery conquer the main love triangles?
In ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald the novel appears to examine the topic of love and relationships focusing on the main love triangle of Tom, Daisy and Gatsby. A main concept in this novel is the adulterous relationship between Tom and Myrtle, which interferes and splits up the main love triangle. Similar my partner text ‘Jazz’ by Toni Morrison features another love triangle between Dorcas, Joe and Violet. Between Joe and his mistress Dorcas adultery is also seen leading to another splitting up of relationships. A main similar aspect is how both novels end in tragedy, which could imply an overall criticism of infidelity. In the 1920’s divorce was first a frowned upon subject, however the war had a huge impact on marriages as partners were away from their relationships, leading women to get lonely along with growing confidence by working in masculine conditions, which could suggest both Tom and Joe’s affairs by the whole subject of marriage beginning to be less strict and Daisy and Violet being left for a period of time.
The concept of ‘adultery’ is seen to be voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse. During the 1920’s and early 1930’s the main reason for divorce was the impact of the war. While partners were away for long periods of times women soon got lonely and depressed however by the women taking over the men’s roles they soon became much more confident and independent. A significant example of this is a ‘Flapper’, these were female dancers who were presented in short dresses, a feather bower and a cigarette and who thought of sex in a casual way.
The divorce rates doubled during the 1920’s and women made more divorces than men, due to their change in personality and way of life. However the factors of infidelity were not as common in the black community, as the subject of racism was still on going and a division between whites and blacks was present. The black community were led into the twenties by working for the upper and middle classes, men were working in the factories or away at war and women were housemaids. The ‘Roaring Twenties’ was predominately a positive factor for the middle and upper classes.
In the ‘Great Gatsby’ the key adulterous relationship is Tom’s ‘fling’ with Mrytle, a working class housewife. From the start of the novel Fitzgerald presents Tom as being dominant over Daisy and arrogant; “two singing arrogant eyes” and ‘established dominance over his face” (p.7) portray Tom and his manner. The vocabulary used such as “singing” and “arrogant” to describe Toms eyes portray how he looks down on people not in the same class as him or to those he thinks are a threat to his social power and status. By Tom having an affair with Mrytle, this illustrates that Tom’s attitude towards infidelity is casual and he does not show much truthfulness towards his marriage with Daisy or the concept of love.
In addition to this concept, Fitzgerald presents Tom with having a very laidback manner towards infidelity. In chapter two when Tom takes Nick into the ‘Valley Of Ashes’ he states to Nick; ‘I want you to meet my girl” implying Mrytle, which shows just how lenient he feels about people knowing about his affair with a ‘city’ girl. The use of ‘my girl’ also implies how Tom refers to her as more as a relationship than Daisy, depicting the present struggle in their relationship. Daisy’s feelings and reaction to Toms ‘sprees’ are only illustrated to the audience clearly in chapter seven, until then Daisy is portrayed to putting up a sarcastic front. In Chapter two, in response to a phone call Tom has to take from one of his ‘other affairs’ Daisy simply states to Jordan and Nick; ‘It couldn’t be helped’ with Fitzgerald describing her as ‘tense’ and ‘gayety’ suggesting how she is light