In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, published in 1925, Daisy Buchanan and her husband Tom live in the elegant and affluent East Egg off Long Island Sound. While Tom can’t get through his football days in New Haven, filled with machismo and swagger, and as Nick describes him, constantly searching for the “dramatic turbulence of a hopeless football game”, Daisy languishes in the hot New York summer heat. with little to occupy his time or thoughts. It is in this environment that his second cousin Nick Caraway re-enters his life, taking up a position as a bond seller in New York, and with him, also returning to his life, is his neighbor, the ex-lover. poor Daisy, Jay Gatsby, now a rich but illicit entrepreneur. Daisy had previously married Tom because, as she tells Gatsby, “rich girls don’t marry poor boys”. Early in their marriage, Tom began to openly entertain a string of lovers, even taking Nick on a hike to visit his current diversion Myrtle Wilson. Daisy is unhappy but relatively quiet about it, playing “the little fool,” a role women feel resigned to. Tom recognizes Daisy’s need to keep her life of ease and pleasure surrounded by wealth and position, which makes it easier for him to control her. He cuts her off abruptly when he’s no longer interested in listening to her; he criticizes her choice of words; he responds to his wishes for her with contempt. Tom is conspicuously absent for the birth of their baby, and disillusioned Daisy admits to Nick: “I’m glad she’s a girl. And I hope she’s a fool – that’s the best a girl can be in this world, a nice little silly. ” Tom’s paternal stance towards childlike Daisy justifies her “partying” habit, but to regain her trust, she says she always comes back and loves her in her heart.
Kill the mistress again
Gatsby joins Daisy and Tom’s social circle, but when Tom accuses him of trying to take his wife away, a fierce argument ensues and, in a moment of anger and despair, Daisy leaves with Gatsby, driving his car. They pass Wilson’s garage, Tom’s lover Myrtle runs towards them and Daisy swerves towards her, killing her instantly. Nick then watches Daisy and Tom through the window of their large mansion in East Egg as they sit across from each other on the kitchen table. Nick says, “There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy to the film and anyone would have said they were conspiring together.” In Daisy’s artificial but protective world, Tom convinces Myrtle’s husband that Gatsby is her lover and Gatsby is driving the death car. A distraught George shoots Gatsby before pointing the gun at himself. Daisy and Tom leave for a long vacation and only Nick and Gatsby’s father attends the funeral. Tom proclaims his grief to Nick at the loss of his lover Myrtle when he looks at the tin of dog biscuits, but it’s short-lived. Myrtle is expendable and her death, as well as Gatsby’s, is soon treated only as a remnant of their negligent past which, as Nick notes, they leave for other people to clean up.
Tom’s Soul Woman
Daisy manipulates her actions with Gatsby to be the woman he imagines, the one he imagined for five years. Yet when she faces the risk of losing Tom and the lifestyle he represents, and even more the risk of paying for the hit and run death of Tom’s lover, she once again settles into the role she reflects. Tom’s soul. Her obedience to her is the price she agrees to pay for safety. She is unwilling to give up the advantages she has with Tom, even at the cost of losing Gatsby’s romantic illusion. You can’t do otherwise. She must be Tom’s childhood Daisy who needs him, regardless of how contemptuous she is of her, and so Gatsby must die to restore their emotionally unhealthy relationship as she is. This soul woman cannot find her own intrinsic worth when she has built a life so totally dependent on materialism, the theme of much of Fitzgerald’s jazz-era writing.
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