Daisy Buchanan: “I did love him once, but I loved you, too” Explicatory Essay
In his novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald has several characters play dramatic roles. Daisy Buchanan is one of the characters that drive the novel. Daisy is Tom’s spouse, Nick’s cousin, and Jay Gatsby’s beloved. In her adulthood, she promises to wait for her first love, Jay Gatsby, until his return from the war, but after meeting Tom Buchanan, everything changes.
She breaks her promise to wait for Gatsby and chooses to marry Tom, who has the support of her parents. After marrying Tom, she cheats on her husband with Gatsby. They meet in secret behind Nick’s back. Daisy’s personality stands out when analyzed alongside other characters in the story. Daisy is shown to be innocent, but immoral, and weak.
When Jordan Baker describes Daisy in her childhood, she says that she dressed in white and had a little white roadster and “our white girlhood was passed together there. Our beautiful white” (Fitzgerald 19). Here Daisy is seen dressed in white, a color showing purity of heart. This quote shows that not only is she wearing white, but she also has a white vehicle; in addition, she lives in a white and red house. The color white symbolizes youth and purity and is used to add innocence to Daisy’s personality.
Another scene illustrates that Daisy is pure and innocent when Nick describes the image Daisy’s voice conjures for him. Also, he calls her the king’s daughter, not the princess. This illustration portrays her as pure and innocent. These quotes show how she uses her voice and the color white to represent purity and innocence. This purity stands out against other people living in the world the protagonist observes.
Jay witnesses that the world is corrupted and is full of wrongdoers. The image of Daisy he creates in his head is an image of a perfect creature from the perfect world. It is also noteworthy that jay is looking at his own image without trying to look beyond things and palette. He only sees white dresses, white cars, but he does not take the trouble to observe.
Daisy is somewhat alienated and the reader barely knows anything about this girl. Her thought and her dreams are unknown. It is not even clear how she really treats people as the settings she appears in are like aristocratic clichés. Step by step, Jay as well as the reader finds out more about Daisy who detests the world she lives in and says, “I think everything’s terrible anyhow” (Fitzgerald 17). Admittedly, a truly pure person cannot say anything like this.
Daisy is also somewhat immoral. When Gatsby asks Daisy to say that she never loved her husband, Tom, Gatsby says, “You never loved him” (Fitzgerald 103). She hesitates and looks at Jordan and Nick. They can read her eyes but Daisy responds, “I never loved him” (Fitzgerald 103).
Daisy says she never loved Tom without him present. If he was in the room, she could not make the same claim. Also, when she looks to Jordan and Nick, she knows they know the answer, but she lies because she “did love him once” (Fitzgerald 103). Therefore, the quotations illustrate that she is perhaps lying to Gatsby to manipulate him or lying to Tom to play with him.
Obviously, this is a betrayal of both her husband and her first love. This behavior is considered immoral. A moral person cannot love two people and lie to both of them. Such behavior and even words are incompatible with the image of purity and innocence. Inability to understand her own feelings or unwillingness to do so reveals her true nature. Daisy is far from being pure.
She is immoral and deceiving. Another scene shows Daisy’s immoral behavior when she is in the room with Gatsby, Jordan, and Nick. When Tom leaves the room, Daisy approaches Gatsby and starts kissing him. Then, Jordan says, “You forget there’s a lady present” (Fitzgerald 90).
Daisy responds, “You kiss Nick, too” (Fitzgerald 90). She pushes Jordan to do the same, so maybe she would feel more comfortable if Jordan kisses Nick while she kisses Gatsby. This view shows Daisy’s lustful side in that she pushes Jordan to do the same and is out of control. She is weak and lacks self-control.
Third, on the day she is to wed Tom, Daisy gets a letter and calls off the wedding. Here we can see her weak character. After reading the letter, Daisy states, “Tell ‘em all Daisy’s change’ her mine” (Fitzgerald 61). She starts to cry hard and then takes a cold bath, all the while remaining silent. If she possessed a stronger personality, she could control herself better. She could reject the material well-being her future marriage promised. Being pure and moral meant a stronger position.
Daisy should have never got married to Tom who cheated on her all the time. She should have, at least, started a dialogue. Being moral meant making Tom understand that she was not going to put up with his affairs. Love and purity cannot co-exist with lies and cheating. However, Daisy had her reasons. She was too weak to change everything. It was much easier for her to marry Tom. Notably, she chose material well-being and she hardly considered moral side of the marriage with a cheater.
She did not truly love him as she did not do anything about his affairs. She was satisfied with the life she had. She was too weak to stand up to the wrongs of their marriage. She was too weak to think of her future and struggle for her love. Of course, this also proves that Daisy was not that pure exceptional girl Jay created in his mind.
To sum up, Daisy is made to look innocent through color symbolism; however, Daisy is manipulative, immoral, and weak. Despite wearing white dresses, Daisy’s heart is black and vicious. Overall, Daisy represents amoral values, except her purity and innocence during childhood. It is possible that Fitzgerald intentionally depicts little Daisy as a pure angel who enchants everyone.
The author wants to emphasize that the society corrupts people and turns pure young things into immoral manipulative creatures that only dream about the material well-being and pleasures the life has to offer. It is also suggestive that the author lets the reader unveil Daisy’s vices step by step. Fitzgerald shows that rich people create a certain image which does not correspond to the reality. It is possible to note that Daisy is a conventional illustration of immorality and hypocrisy of the ‘higher’ society.
Fitzgerald, Scott F. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Print.
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