The Emotional Complexity Of Daisy Buchannan In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1112 words - 5 pages

Are men defined by other's perceptions? If so, this defeats the innate purpose of humanity which is individuality and free will. A belief that societal definitions are the entire representation of oneself would lead to a completely superficial society in which individualism is obsolete. Jay Gatsby would be no more than "a German spy from the war," and Daisy would be a "Catholic” (33). Everyone has a past and this past certainly shapes personality, perspective, and goals; however, the past cannot be the sole definition of oneself. Daisy Buchanan exemplifies the complexity of humanity and thus cannot be categorized so easily because while she is a victimizer of men, she is also a victim of ...view middle of the document...

However, this is not her reality and Daisy must watch each day pass without purpose, and wonder what she shall do "this afternoon... and the next after that, and the next thirty years," all the while knowing that it is not partying and enjoying the pleasures a man can enjoy without guilt (118). Daisy is by no means a genius, however she deserves the right to enjoy alcohol and have extramarital affairs as freely as Tom does, and she sees this injustice unlike other women, and for that reason, she is also not the fool she so obviously wishes to be.
To an extent, Daisy is also a victim of Gatsby's infatuation. Not only does she have the burden of society's expectations, but now she has to live up to the innocent girl who wears "white dresses" that she is when Gatsby first loves her, in order to support her own frail sense of self-worth (12). Daisy is no longer a "golden girl" who can afford to flirt with military boys, but rather sees the lack of purpose in her life, without the ability to change her circumstances (120). Gatsby is both a reminder of what she has lost in her marriage to Tom, and a constant source of pressure due to the "colossal vitality of his illusion," to which she can never meet because this image of Daisy is purely a romanticized notion (95). These unattainable standards are a source of despair for Daisy, as they have even further limited her self-expression as woman who may want to decide her own future without her decision being written off as preposterous "notions” (120). The expectation Gatsby places on Daisy cause her to confuse love with acceptance, thus contorting her perfunctory life with Tom into a world where she believes she has choices, but lacks the ability to make decisions. Gatsby attempts to liberate Daisy, however this is more than she can bear, and instead pivots Daisy into a state of confusion where she "loves Gatsby," but "love[s] [Tom] too," thus destroying a chance of happiness she may have had (132).
However, while Daisy is a victim of Gatsby and society, she is not absolved of blame; she victimizes men as much as she has been victimized herself. Daisy knows what society...

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