Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald Essay
Fitzgerald carefully builds Daisy’s character with associations of light, purity, and innocence, when all is said and done, she is the opposite from what she presents herself to be.
Daisy, like Gatsby, is something of a dreamer. One of the things they share is their idealized image of their relationship the first time around – and this rose-colored view makes everything in the present seem dull and flat in comparison. Daisy’s view of the past is both wistful and cynical at the same time.
Nick quotes her as a careless person who smashes things up and then retreats behind her money, proving her real nature when she picks Tom over Gatsby, wealth over love and doesn’t even attend to Gatsby’s funeral.
Nick comments repeatedly on Daisy’s voice, first describing it as “the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again,” (13) and later calling it “a deathless song” (101)
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made”
(188 I hope she’ll be a fool-that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.pg 12
If her daughter is a fool, then she’ll never get hurt. She’ll never realize that she married for money and status instead of real love, that her husband is having an affair right under her nose, that everyone sees her as silly, stupid, naive, and pitiful. If she’s a fool, she’ll never have an opinion that can be dismissed by the men in her life, and she’ll never care about anything except dresses and flowers and all the pretty things in life. She’ll be pretty enough to find a husband who can support her financially, and dumb enough never to realize how tragic life actually is.
“She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of -” I hesitated.
“Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly.
That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it… high in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl […]. (7.99)
Gatsby feels unable to speak in the Buchanans’ house because of the barriers of wealth. Although he has money, it isn’t the kind that allows him into Daisy’s world. Even her voice, the very essence of her character, is off limits for him. In fact, Nick and Gatsby find commonalities in feeling excluded from the Buchanan’s world. Nick’s description of Daisy as “the golden girl” also brings us back to the epigraph, a quotation quite useful for this scene.
Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams–not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way (87).
Analysis: The description of Gatsby’s dream matches the description of everything he does, from his parties to his automobile to his suits. Nick points out that the real Daisy cannot possibly live up to the imagined Daisy, something Gatsby never admits. It’s like the time I took my kids to the Grand Canyon. I had pictured in my mind a glorious day in the world’s most popular national park. It turned out to be a day of blistering heat, crying children, and annoying tourists. I feel your pain, Jay. I feel your pain.