Skyscraper Women

First of all, I would like to start off by saying I really enjoyed the book Skyscraper, it was a little out of my “comfort zone” of books, and at first I honestly thought I wouldn’t like it that much, but I found that I did. It was really interesting reading something that was published in Cosmo in the 1930’s because I honestly have never read literature like that from that time period. Sure, I’ve read literature from the 1930’s before, but nothing that has been compared to Sex and the City of our day. That being said, I would like to continue our discussion from class, especially the discussion about women characters, as well as money; and for a change I would like to draw from real life experience instead of research.

Let me just lead this off by saying that Jennie was probably my favorite character in the novel. Yes, she was in fact a gold digger, but at the same time she was the most honest woman in the entire novel. She knew exactly what she was and she completely owned it. I find this to be interesting because I wouldn’t be able to stand a “gold digger” in today’s time. Why? Because times have changed. Back then, when women in the work place was out of the ordinary, what was a girl to do? Jennie did what she had to do in order to get by in that economy. Today however, a woman in the workplace is a very common thing to see. In fact, my parents own a business and my mother is considered to be the primary owner of that business. I guess that is why I have the problem that I do with so called “gold diggers”.

Moving on to Lynn. While I know many of the people in the class found her to be annoying, I sort of enjoyed her. Yes, at times she wasn’t the most honest person, but really how many people in this world are? I liked her most because she had ambition as well as a love life, which in today’s time is the most typical woman. One of the things I liked about her so much was the fact that she wanted to establish her career before she got married. So many women during that time period would have been okay with agreeing to marry a man like Tom and then letting him take care of her. I thought her ambition was a nice touch.

Finally, we have Sarah. Sarah I think reminds me most of my mother. She is an extremely intelligent woman who is not afraid to take on the work place surrounded by men. My parents own a construction company, which as we all know is primarily a “man’s” job. My own mother is one of two women in that entire company, and honestly she is the opinion that matter’s the most. I draw my inspiration from her because she is not afraid to be a strong, independent woman, and that is why Sarah reminded me so much of her.

            I would like to end by saying that this novel was honestly a breath of fresh air. It was very different from some of the other literature that I have read in classes, and it was nice to get an idea of what “risky” writing from that time period was like. I felt that I could really put myself in all of the characters’ shoes. I enjoyed it very much.




Filed under City Cultures

5 responses to “Skyscraper Women

  1. Yeah, it’s really different to read popular fiction from different periods of time. That’s why I think the distinction between lowbrow and highbrow literature is still a useful one. I thought your character analysis was interesting, too. We may have been a little unfair to Lynn in discussion, and I think your mom definitely sounds like a Sarah type. So let me play devil’s advocate: why is Jennie sympathetic when a “gold digger” today isn’t? Being a women in the workplace was out of the ordinary then, but obviously not totally impossible. Contrarily, why would a gold digger who was honest about what she wanted be hard to take now? I understand where you’re coming from, just curious about your thinking.

  2. To answer your question I think I probably feel differently about a gold digger back then because it was much more difficult to get a job as a woman. Also, men back then were expected to take care of their women, so in my eyes being a gold digger just went with the expectations. I don;t necessarily think gold diggers are hard to take now, it’s not something that I would choose but I try never to judge. I really do seem to always appreciate a person for their honesty. For example, a girl who sleeps around a lot if really frowned upon but if the girl happens to be my friend and tells it like it is instead of trying to hide it then I normally don’t have a problem with it.

  3. First off, I enjoyed your continued discussion from class with an emphasis on women and particularly Jennie, Lynn, and Sarah. I like how you assessed their differences and similarities by analyzing their characters. Also, I identify with you completely when you stated that you didn’t think you would like this type of book in the beginning–I felt the same way. However, I too loved the pictures of women and the city that is so blatantly painted for the audience by giving us opposing characters in conflicting situations and how city life impacted them, as well as their impacts on city life.

    Second, though I do agree with most of this post including the statment that “times have changed”, I have to say I wouldn’t view a “gold digger” much different in that era than in today’s society. People are always searching for a way to consume large amounts of money that require little to no work ethic. And for many women, it comes easier to use their sex appeal (or whatever) to achieve those large quantities of $$$! When I define the term “gold digger”, I see it as people who are money-hungry and willing to do almost anything to become rich. These people only date, marry, etc. others who contain the “right amount of change” and don’t seek out these relationships solely based on love, friendship, or companionship–their only goal is to have lots of money. With that, I view gold diggers as the same in each time period. Though it was difficult for women to find jobs during the Depression, it’s also hard to find jobs in today’s economy as well. The ’30s may have been seen as more conservative or moral than today’s society, but that just leaves more room or reason for their to be more gold diggers today and for it also to be more accepted. I will say, however, that one major difference I see in “gold diggers” such as Jennie opposed to those in today’s society, is that Jennie was pretty honest about what was important to her–money. Men knew that’s all she wanted, but still lined uo to marry her. In today’s society, though money is a dominating factor, finding “true love” is an even bigger value. I feel as though today many “gold diggers” reject the term and deceive those with money by using “love”. Of course, this is nothing new to the ’30’s era either. For me, this shows the lack of morality in today’s society compared to that during the Depression era. Jennie at least represents some sort of morality through her honesty, even though her title of “gold digger” is in contrast with having conventional “morals” during that time. Today, that same term is disassociated with possessing any morals at all. It’s a lifestyle. And most of all in both today and the ’30s, it’s a choice.

    In summation, I really like what you have going here by depicting the three female characters in “Skyscrapers” and comparing them. They each represent a different part of the city, culture, level of society, and type of person. In contrast to your views of “gold diggers” being seen differently in earlier eras and in today’s society, I personally don’t see much of a difference at all between the two figures. I feel as though both views are quite similar in the fact that in both times jobs are hard to find and maintain, money is a motivating tool, the definition of a “gold digger” is still the same now as it was then, and it’s a chosen lifestyle. Nonetheless, I agree that it was “refreshing” to read something from this time period and become exposed to what society, people, and the city was like. Great start, enjoyed the topics your post discusses!

  4. thepurplegg

    I think that not only was Jennie the most honest character, she was the only woman who really knew what she wanted. Lynn of course cannot decide if she wants a life with Tom or Dwight, but I also do not think Sarah really 100% knew what she wanted. She was not as conflicted as Lynn, of course, but she still reminisced about her life. Lynn and Jennie were young enough that their futures were ahead of them, and their choices were important for their lives. Sarah had already made her biggest decisions; she could look back at them. She was happy in her business-woman role, but she still thought about all the “what ifs?” with Dwight. In the novel, Jennie knows what she wants, but I could also see Jennie becoming a Sarah-like character as she got older if she started to regret her decisions.

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought there was some small value to Lynn’s character. I must admit, she’s certainly not my favorite of them all, and Jennie is probably the most enjoyable. However, I know a lot of girls just like Lynn–not sure what they want, but still seem to think they’re somewhat in control of their lives. In fact, I’ve had some Lynn moments in my life myself. Sometimes one thing is extremely important to me and then something else takes its place, leaving me either naive/oblivious or confused. Maybe this is a part of growing up and learning about yourself, and honestly, Lynn’s character is the perfect age for figuring things out about herself. There are ways Lynn makes sense in Skyscraper, just like there are ways she does not make sense.

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