The Dichotomy of Daisy

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I’ve read Gatsby twice now and what has stuck out most to me is the change in my feelings toward Daisy after the final events of the book. When I first read the book, I went from loving Daisy at the beginning (she’s such a sweet, hopeless romantic reunited with her long lost love–swoon) to absolutely despising her at the conclusion (what a terrible person!).

The second time around I felt completely different. I now could delve deeper through the many layers that made up the character: Daisy Buchanan. She was a product of wealth, most likely taught that love was silly and idealistic. Money and security was it’s logical equivalent. She was a mother. A woman who suffered abuse at the hands of her only protector in the world, the man with the power to take away everything she had. To me, all of these life conditions are transparent in her decisions and follies. In the end, she could only protect herself by leaving, letting Gatsby take the subsequent fall and then not attending his funeral.

So, with Daisy you can really either love her or hate her. I agree not attending Gatsby’s funeral was in bad taste, however factoring in the lack of options not only Daisy but so many woman had in those times, her actions seem rational. I know now I can say I adore Daisy, as imperfect and flawed a character she is.

Still, I’m curious as to what feelings other people got from Daisy?

One thought on “The Dichotomy of Daisy

  1. ksmucker

    I agree with the statement in your last paragraph: you either love Daisy, or you hate her, there is no in between. I think it’s easy to see the idealistic attitude of Daisy in the beginning of the novel. When we first meet her, we’re drawn to her optimism and what appears to be genuine happiness. However, as the novel continues, layers of Daisy are peeled back and we see that her character has a lot more to her than initially presented. To me, Daisy’s characterization is that comparable to a child. She is shallow in terms of materialistic goods and relationships, she doesn’t acknowledge the possibility of intellect coming from a woman, and she finds comfort in getting attention from people.

    Probably the most notable quote of the book from Daisy was when she was talking about her daughter and her hope that she’s a fool. This makes clear the idea that Daisy is a product of a social environment where woman can’t contribute in a meaningful way. The fact that Daisy can recognize this, but not challenge it was very cynical. Daisy clearly conforms to these societal standards because of her dislike for confrontation and creating tension. Which, we also see in her neglect to confront Tom about his affair. I feel like after reading the novel the second time around, I can’t quite tell if I love or hate her character, but I can at least appreciate the many layers I didn’t notice the first time.

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