There are several main characters in the great American novel The Great Gatsby. Some of them don’t get the attention they deserve, and one would be Jordan Baker.
A golf pro, Jordan Baker is anxious for gossip, truth, and perhaps is even on the lookout for a husband.
While Jordan appears to want the truth, she is not all that honest herself.
The one thing that you can say about Baker is that she has some excellent quotes that still apply today.
Jordan Baker: Daisy’s Not-So-Innocent Best Friend
Let’s discover every chapter that Jordan Baker is featured in, along with her best quotes.
When Do We First Meet Jordan Baker?
We first meet Jordan Baker when narrator Nick Carraway does- in the first chapter.
Nick visits his cousin Daisy and her husband, Tom Buchanan (read Quotes About Tom Buchanan here), who is also Nick’s old college friend. When he arrives, he finds Jordan and Daisy lounging on the sofas.
Although Nick doesn’t remember Jordan immediately, soon after Daisy tells him her name, Nick remembers that she was a golf pro who appeared in numerous magazines.
Quotes about Jordan Baker
Nick describes Jordan Baker in the first chapter as –
“She was a slender, small-breasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet.
Her grey sun-strained eyes looked back at me with police reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming, discontented face. It occurred to me now that I had seen her, or a picture of her, somewhere before.”
We also find that Jordan loves gossip. As everyone is sitting down to dinner at Daisy’s house, the phone rings incessantly. Finally, Daisy goes to Tom to see who is calling. Nick takes this moment to try to talk to Jordan, but she tells him-
“This Mr. Gatsby you spoke of is my neighbor-“, I began
“Don’t talk! I want to hear what happens.”
“Is something happening?” I inquired innocently.
“You mean to say you don’t know?” said Miss Baker, honestly surprised. “I thought everybody knew.”
“Why-” she said hesitantly, “Tom’s got some woman in New York.”
“Got some woman?” I repeated blankly.
Miss Baker nodded.
“She might have the decency not to telephone him at dinner time. Don’t you think?”
Jordan appears to be quite interested in Tom’s cheating, but she herself was caught in a cheating scandal.
Jordan Baker Character Analysis
In Chapter 3, Nick describes Jordan as being-
“incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage and, given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard, jaunty body.”
This description suggests that Jordan not only cheated during her golf tournament ( read more on 1920s golf ) , but that she cheats in other aspects of her life as well.
Near the end of Chapter 3, Jordan tells Nick-
“I hate careless people. That’s why I like you.”
While Miss Baker may say that she hates careless people, she was apparently careless enough to nearly get caught cheating during the tournament!
Jordan Baker is a liar and a cheat. She loves to gossip about others to deflect attention from her own scandals while seeking out people who aren’t very smart so she won’t be found out.
Miss Baker loves to indulge in scandals as long as they don’t involve her. Baker wants to maintain her image of a clean-cut sportswoman for endorsements and possibly to catch a husband.
Jordan Baker is a dishonest woman, but she is smart enough to cover her tracks, so that her cheating can never be proven.
What Does Jordan Baker Symbolize?
Jordan Baker is the perfect representation of the “new woman” of the 1920s.
During this era, women had much more freedom than their mothers and they took advantage of it, much to the dislike of many men.
While America was involved in WWI, there was a labor shortage. This forced many women to head to workplaces they had never occupied in the past.
When men returned from the war, women didn’t want to give up the freedom, rights, and money that they discovered they could earn on their own.
Flappers, as these women were called, had earned the right to vote and could now work in nearly any field they liked. They demanded to be treated as equals, even flaunting some masculine hairstyles, wearing slacks on occasion, and becoming involved in men’s sports, such as golf.
Jordan Baker is all of the above, but she can’t quite break free from the traditional beliefs of women needing to marry and that women aren’t really women until they are loved by a man.
This woman symbolizes all the good and bad aspects of women that F. Scott Fitzgerald saw in women of his time.
Why Is Jordan’s Gossiping Important in the Story?
Believe it or not, it’s through Miss Baker’s gossip that we learn a great deal about other characters and their relationships.
Jordan is the one to first tell Nick about Tom’s mistress in the first chapter.
Next, Jordan tells Nick that Gatsby wants to ask him a favor. Later, it’s Jordan who tells Nick about Daisy and Gatsby’s past relationship and what Gatsby’s plans are for them in the future (read more on Jordan in The Great Gatsby ).
Do Nick and Jordan Have a Relationship?
Nick is definitely attracted to Jordan, but he doesn’t seem to trust her completely. They never get engaged, and they don’t have a love affair, either.
The attraction seems mutual, but Jordan seems to have her doubts about Nick as well. Perhaps the reason is that while Nick’s family does appear to have money, he isn’t independently wealthy like Tom Buchanan.
In Chapter 3, Nick describes his feelings for Jordan-
“I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.”
Nick also begins to make excuses for her in the same chapter, which shows that he is developing some feelings for her-
“Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply.”
However, nothing comes of this mutual attraction, and the pair part ways on a bad note.
In Chapter 8, Nick’s attraction comes to an end after Gatsby’s death (read more on how does The Great Gatsy End here) when Jordan’s only concern seems to be that he wasn’t giving her the attention she felt she deserved-
‘I’ve left Daisy’s house,’ she said. ‘I’m at Hempstead, and I’m going down to Southampton this afternoon.’
Probably it had been tactful to leave Daisy’s house, but the act annoyed me and her next remark made me rigid.
‘You weren’t so nice to me last night.’
How could it have mattered then?
Jordan loses all attraction for Nick, and the feeling appears to be mutual.
Jordan Baker’s Most Important Quotes
Despite her dishonesty, Fitzgerald saw fit to give Miss Baker some outstanding lines.
From Chapter 1-
“You ought to live in California-” began Miss Baker, but Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair.
Jordan tries to change the subject away from Tom’s racist nonsense, but he won’t let her.
From Chapter 3-
“You’re a rotten driver,” I protested. “Either you ought to be more careful or you oughtn’t to drive at all.”
“I am careful.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Well, other people are,” she said lightly.
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“They’ll keep out of my way,” she insisted. “It takes two to make an accident.”
“Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself.”
“I hope I never will,” she answered. “I hate careless people. That’s why I like you.”
Here, Jordan Baker makes excuses for herself while admitting that she was careless about her cheating at the golf tournament.
From Chapter 4-
“It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people.”
Jordan is speaking about Daisy, and this comment makes one believe that Daisy isn’t as clean-cut as she leads everyone to believe.
From Chapter 7-
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
Unlike the cynical Daisy, Jordan is still open to all the possibilities that life still holds for her.
From Chapter 9-
“You threw me over on the telephone. I don’t give a damn about you now but it was a new experience for me and I felt a little dizzy for a while.”
While Nick is definitely over his attraction for Jordan, it appears that the same is true the other way around.
Jordan Baker is a character of contradictions.
She enjoys the freedom of being a rich woman who earns her own money, but she’s often dishonest and engages in the typical trappings of gossip and husband-hunting.
While Jordan tries to come across as a straightforward person, she’s actually one of the careless people that she says she dislikes.
Jordan is a vehicle that Fitzgerald uses to give the reader background information on several characters. In the end, she also reveals that her true concern is more for herself than anything or anyone else.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.