Love, love, love. It makes the world go round. And the love story of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan made Francis Scott Fitzgerald famous around the whole world.
Poor Gatsby Wealthy Gatsby
Jay Gatsby is a young, poor but attractive young man who discovers the world of wealthy families where he doesn’t belong (for now). Upon joining the army he left his heart with a stunning Southern belle, Daisy Buchanan. Years pass, Gatsby comes back, becomes incredibly rich and ready to get the love of his life back. However, it turns out that his golden girl is already married to another man whose name is Tom… But his love is too strong, his feelings for her are too real and his obsession grows stronger — he decides that it’s only worth living the life that his beloved woman would notice someday.
So he buys a villa not far away from her house and leads an extraordinary life hoping that one day she would come to visit one of his lavish parties out of curiosity. The host is extraordinary, he is everything the guests that frequent Gatsby’s social events talk about — who is this man?Where did he make so much money? Why does he entertain the whole city at his house?
And the day that Gatsby was looking forward to so much finally came — the delicate Daisy comes to his party and the love birds fall back in love again. But what does it bring him if not one disappointment after the other? In the pursuit of the careless woman who doesn’t deserve him Jay Gatsby loses his personality. They inevitably bring each other down and it leads to a sad but somewhat predictable ending.
The life of Jay Gatsby is an interpretation of the big American dream in which Daisy Buchanan is an ultimate goal — he started from nothing, rises to the top quickly, urges to have everything he wants, he leads a very luxurious life and he would not stop to have the woman he loves by his side. But, on the other hand, his life is miserable, the woman he loves is not his ideal — it was him who made her ideal in his mind and memories. In other people’s eyes Daisy Buchanan description is not as flattering: she is a shallow, self-centered and indecisive.
But don’t you, dear reader, be quick to judge her — she is not to blame for her flaws! She lives in a society that is cynical and cruel, around people who wouldn’t think a minute before scarifying other people for their gain. Her friends and neighbors don’t care if they break somebody’s life, so why would she care that she hit Myrtle Wilson with a car and caused her death? The most important thing is that she didn’t hurt somebody of the upper class, whose status is higher than Daisy’s — that’s what she cares about.
One thing that is important to keep in mind while we examine Daisy Buchanan character traits — she is very susceptive to the influence of those around her, she thinks like the majority of people that surround her, she sees the world through the eyes of her friends. She wants to be the person her friends’ eyes would admire. And most importantly, Daisy Buchanan personality is a complete opposite to the narrator of the book, a young, well-educated Nick Carraway, who introduces Jay and Daisy in the first place.
Despite the fact that Daisy is Nick’s distant relative, she is nothing like this moral man who has served in the army and is currently in the pursuit of studying banking craft.
So, Who Is Actually Daisy Buchanan?
She is a delicate sweet girl with a thrilling voice, soft skin and pretty face. She grew up in a rich family and is used to comfort and luxury. She simply can’t picture herself living another life. One can’t portray her to be too intelligent and smart. Daisy’s superficial character and her unwillingness to look deep into things around her or even experience deep feelings are demonstrated already in Chapter 1:
“Tom’s getting very profound,” said Daisy, with an expression of unthoughtful sadness. “He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we…”
When it comes to Daisy’s feelings, the reader is not entirely sure what it is she actually wants from life. It doesn’t matter how old is Daisy Buchanan — she is always in doubt. It’s like she is made to follow somebody, to accept that other people will be making decisions for her. As long as those people have wealth and can support her materialistic desires. Her whole life, her experiences and emotions are described in things (Chapter 2):
“At the news-stand she bought a copy of Town Tattle and a moving-picture magazine, and in the station drug-store some cold cream and a small flask of perfume. Up-stairs, in the solemn echoing drive she let four taxicabs drive away before she selected a new one, lavender-colored with gray upholstery, and in this we slid out from the mass of the station into the glowing sunshine.”
or as she was characterized in Chapter 7:
“Her voice is full of money”.
There Is No Confusion like the Confusion of a Simple Mind
But don’t be fooled reading this Daisy Buchanan character analysis and thinking that the girl had it all. Her life wasn’t that easy and pink after all. She wanted many things — but as it happens to overly materialistic people — she never had enough. She was lacking in things and emotions. Tom and Daisy Buchanan marriage was an illusion more than a partnership. He cheated on her, she knew it and couldn’t leave the comfort his money gave her.
Tom also knew about Daisy’s affair with Gatsby but didn’t consider it a good enough reason for a marriage break up. There was a great deal of drama when the couple’s affairs became too evident, as it’s portrayed in Chapter 7:
“There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind, and as we drove away Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control.”
Here it’s worth complimenting her resilience and patience, ability to be strong in the situations where many women wouldn’t pull through. But from the other side, she is opportunistic, cunning and selfish, putting money and wealth over love and moral values. He life drama is about the fact that she cheated on her own feelings to Gatsby when she married Tom for his money and status. At the same time, it wouldn’t be true to say that she didn’t love Gatsby… or Tom. In her own convoluted way she loved them both and gave them the best pieces of her soul. Daisy's husband in the “Great Gatsby” book is like her reflection in some way — he is just as cold and indifferent to the feelings of others.
Understanding the Role of Daisy Character
On the other hand, Great Gatsby and Daisy were so different from the first time they met. He was poor, but so pure. He had only love and devotion to give to Daisy, and that wasn’t enough.
Daisy Buchanan has a very important role in the book — that is to create Jay Gatsby! It was her inability to love the man just for who he was that created the Great Gatsby everybody knows. As it is stated in Chapter 6, Gatsby created himself to resemble his beloved woman more:
“I suppose he’d had the name ready for a long time, even then. His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all… So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.”
Another important role of Daisy character is to demonstrate the mastery of Fitzgerald to create a character that can be so appealing and cherished by the readers. Despite all Daisy’s downfalls, many readers sympathize with her, they share her naivety and can understand her actions in some way. Since the author went to great pains to describe the social conditions of those times and the reasons for many actions Daisy took — the readers feel that they understand and can forgive her. She grew up in such environment, she was brought up that way, she had to follow the customs and rules of those times, her men didn’t bother to set boundaries for her… the list of excuses goes on, because everybody likes to feel sorry or maybe even admire little naïve and nostalgic Daisy.
The path to understanding Daisy lies beyond her character. She is a puzzle and a key to understanding the sadness and the decay of the Jazz Age. She reflects the problems of the whole humanity that are present in any society at any stage of its development.