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Essay: Daisy Buchanan, the Not so Beautiful Fool

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
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  • Published: December 26, 2019*
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  • Tags: The Great Gatsby essays
  • Daisy Buchanan, the Not so Beautiful Fool
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Life is about making a positive impact on those around you, not trying to accumulate vast wealth. However, it is well-known that members of society are bound to choose riches over one’s own or others happiness. To add, it is important to acknowledge, especially when considering selfish women like Daisy Buchanan. Studies show, that often people are unaware that their actions have an affect on those around them. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan is corrupt through her materialistic, obsessive views on life, despite Gatsby’s dysfunctional views on his version of the American Dream. With this, one can prove that Daisy Buchanan is a self-absorbed, vacuous socialite whose decisions lead to the destruction of both Jay Gatsby and Myrtle Wilson.

Materialism is one of those ideals that many people do not want to think about, and even try to avoid, especially when it causes trouble amidst a marriage. However, a cluster of people choose to abide by materialism. A prime example of one of those people is Mrs. Daisy Fay Buchanan. Within Fitzgerald’s novel, “in which the theme of wealth carries particularly philosophical overtones in Gatsby we see both the notation of money as destruction, but also as the key to Daisy’s affection… Wealth fundamentally shapes Gatsby’s character. Gatsby gains wealth, but it ultimately proves useless for his desires” (Rosk 47). Essentially, this quotation from Nancy Von Rosk’s essay, “Looking Back on the Jazz Age” informs readers that Daisy Buchanan marries for wealth and not for love, in order to seek stature and acceptance from society; in the same fashion, after Daisy denied Mr. Gatsby’s proposal because he was not wealthy or an East Egg native she went on to marry a man of aristocracy named Tom Buchanan. Even though Daisy was happy to secure her noble status, “the day before the wedding he gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars… half an hour later she has a bottle of Sauterne in one hand and a letter in the other… Tell’ em Daisy’s change her mine”(Fitzgerald 76). Daisy knows that the expensive string of pearls that Tom gaver her is about to become a commonality. When Daisy is intoxicated, she ultimately wants to change her mind and marry the man she truly loves despite the fact that he was poor and serving amidst World War 1. In the sober light of day, Daisy Fay did what she was born to do and marry for wealth.

Once Gatsby is back in the picture and Daisy is unhappily married and Gatsby is rather prosperous, the two reunite to have tea at Nick’s cottage by the bay. After tea, Nick and Daisy tour Gatsby’s mansion and when they finally reach Mr. Gatsby’s bedroom, Jay begins tossing his shirts over the balcony is his bedroom and Daisy began to cry. When Gatsby asked her why she was upset she uttered “They’re such beautiful shirts, she sobbed, her muffled in the folds. It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts.” (Fitzgerald 92). In this moment, Daisy Buchanan realized she loved Jay Gatsby and that he became wealthy for her and only her. As she would not have married him prior to his success. Within the novel, Fitzgerald implores on the materialism Daisy possess as it tends to create issues for others.

Being selfless opens the world to a person. The more giving one becomes the more common it is for one understands people who are different from one’s self. The heart and mind become more open, rather than the tunnel vision selfishness can bring. When one is selfless, one embraces and cares for others. If one embraces and cares for others, one tends to understand and appreciate the finer aspects in life. Daisy Buchanan is often a woman of selfish behaviors; for instance, when Daisy refuses to admit that she never loved Tom, Gatsby’s ability to retrieve his lost years with Daisy disappears. Furthermore, Suspicion replaces irresistibility when he despairingly grasps the fact that it is “saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment” (Fitzgerald 57). It seems Gatsby wanted to recover himself, after all these years loving Daisy; his life had since become confusing and disordered because of Daisy’s senseless misdemeanor. After allotting so much time to his dream of being with Daisy, Mr. Gatsby cannot travel back in time and relive those lost memories and his dream sadly had to come to a bitter end.

In the end of Fitzgerald’s novel, when Daisy chooses Tom over Gatsby, and allows Gatsby to take the blame for killing Myrtle, society as well as Jordan rationalizes her selfish behavior with “it takes two to make an accident” (Fitzgerald 58). Her sequence of lies leads George Wilson to believe, senselessly, that this was all Gatsby’s fault. The shame of the affair eventually compels Wilson to shoot Gatsby and then commit suicide. Daisy, could have owned up to her mistakes and saved Gatsby’s life, but for Daisy Fay Buchanan, self-preservation is far more valuable than personal merit. This in fact proves “the greatest villain in the Great Gatsby is in fact Daisy herself, for her wanton lifestyle and selfish desires eventually lead to Gatsby’s death, and she has no regards for the lives she destroys” (Rosk 47). Nevertheless, Nick Carraway sees right through her disturbing ways and reflects upon the Buchanan’s. After Nick ponders a thought he muttered “They are 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 made” (Fitzgerald 170). Many people see Daisy Buchanan as a poised, pure, and elegant woman who is happily married; however, few like her cousin, Nick Carraway, suffer from knowing her true self: careless, deceptive, and selfish. Daisy is able to use money to get her out of every situation she runs into, including when she ran off after Myrtle and Gatsby’s deaths. Her misfortunes are always pinned on other people as she has no remorse for killing Myrtle and devastating Gatsby. By the end of the novel, it is apparent Tom and Daisy are made for each other as they have others do their work and avoid getting blood on their decadent articles of clothing.

The dictionary defines “awe” as a feeling of admirable respect mixed with fear or wonder. That may be a harmless feeling when viewing somebody’s work from a distance, but when one finds themself in the same room with this person, it can be undermining. When one is in awe of somebody, one will hesitate to criticize their bad qualities. To add, if one were to place somebody on such a pedestal it can be known that one sends a message that they’re not worthy of their time. “Gatsby is blind to Daisy’s selfish, juvenile, and self-destructive personality as he put Daisy on her own pedestal. The purity and optimism in which Jay stares at the ‘green light that burns all night at the end of the dock is, like his own future, metaphorically shrouded in an impenetrable mist” (Bloom, 61). All in all, Gatsby becomes a victim of Daisy Fay and an impalpable victim of the American Dream. His vision is shrouded by the mere thought of their past romance, and he cannot seem to see clearly. Amidst the afternoon, during the tour of Gatsby’s mansion she strolled through, Nick looked over at Gatsby and then thought to himself, “He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes…once he nearly toppled down the stairs” (Bloom 78). This quote emphasizes to the audience, the amount of extreme devotion and interest Gatsby has in Daisy. He is strongly invested in pleasing her, and wants everything to be perfect. He is in such a state of awe that he cannot get past her corrupt views on life, and her overall bad morality. Despite all efforts, Gatsby is unable to disown his humble past; “he manages to obtain the artificial security of wealth, but can never secure the respectability of old money that Daisy represents. In his blind pursuit of wealth, status, and success for his own gain” (Bloom 79). Gatsby follows a dream that ultimately becomes a nightmare. He wants to become Daisy’s equivalent, and in order to do so he feels the need to have Daisy’s same social status. He wraps himself up in the lavish lifestyle of the wealthy and in the process loses himself and his common sense.

All in all, it is evident Daisy Buchanan is a self-absorbed, vacuous socialite whose decisions lead to the destruction of both Jay Gatsby and Myrtle Wilson. Fitzgerald displays the fact that although riches may bring joy to many this same wealth can also contribute to destruction of people and items that truly matter. Overall, life is about making a positive impact, not creating wealth. However, it is widely accepted that society is bound to choose riches over one’s own or others happiness.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. “The American Dream.” Google Books, Infobase Publishing, 2009,

Fitzgerald, F.Scott. The Great Gatsby. Penguin Books, 1950.

Rosk, Nancy Von. “Looking Back at the Jazz Age.” Google Books, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016,

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