The Woman Question: Changes during the 1920s
Fitzgerald's heroine, Daisy Buchanan, is a product of the 1920s. In 1900 it would have been highly unlikely for a woman of her social class to behave as freely and boldly as she does. Yet a woman today would be likely to find solutions to her love and marriage problems that Daisy does not. For example, for both social and economic reasons, divorce was then much less common than it is today. Daisy is in love with Gatsby and marries a very wealthy man when she feels Gatsby has abandoned her. She finds her life boring. Much worse than that, her husband is unfaithful and hardly bothers to hide it. She is passionately in love with Gatsby when he returns, but cannot bring herself to leave her husband, although she will not say that she never loved him.
Part of the explanation for her behavior lies in the position of women at the time. To understand that position, we need to look a moment at the women's movement in the early twentieth century. This movement had raised women's hopes by successfully lobbying for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1920, granting women the right to vote. Also, women's groups had been one of the major forces behind the movement to prohibit the sale of alcohol, and the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1919, permitted Congress to make Prohibition an established fact.