Daisy Buchanan: Love, Folly and Money in The Great Gatsby
Without any doubt, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an American classic; it is a book that is studied by high school students, and it is a novel that many colleges use in their courses. It is a novel about the “American Dream,” a poor young man in love with a wealthy young woman who is able to “make it big” and he is able to afford it all.
However, in the case of Jay Gatsby, he could not afford it all: he was missing love. The love he was searching for is personified as Daisy Buchanan. He searched for a meaningful connection with a wealthy woman when he was a younger. However, this relationship taught him a lesson about love. He learned that love is something that has a measurement. This means that in order to have a meaningful relationship one must be a person of wealth and means. This suggests that for Jay Gatsby’s idea for love is materialistic. Therefore, Jay Gatsby’s understanding about love is that the more wealth he can accumulate, the better changes he has for a meaningful romantic relationship.
That is to say, that Daisy Buchanan is an idealistic form of love. She is beautiful, young and she is something that many men desire an as a result, an ideal form of love. Therefore, men will act in a foolish way to win over her love and affection. That is the case with Jay Gatsby, who is willing to go to extravagant means to get her attention. This is a foolish endeavor by Jay Gatsby because he is willing to allow his reputation to be embellished in order to impress Daisy Buchanan. During one of his parties, he is described as a spy and a man who ‘“he killed a man once”’ (48).
While his reputation is amplified by stories, myths, and fantasies made by other people, it is foolish and irrational to throw large parties, become extremely wealthy and make up lies to win the heart of one woman. However, he did all of this to chase Daisy Buchanan and by doing this he puts a price tag on his affection for Daisy. Hence, the green light at the end of her dock; it represents Daisy Buchanan and how he keeps chasing after her, and the green light is the representation of money. Moreover, Daisy Buchanan also represents the money that he wants. She is a wealthy woman and in order to be her equal he must be a wealthy person in order to reached her and finally be treated like a wealthy person, like her.
Money and relationships are investigated in the article, “Men Want Beauty, Women Want Money: What We Want from the Opposite Sex,” by Inga Ting from The Sydney Morning Herald in which the author states that men want beautiful women and women want men with money. While the author of the article recognizes that these are stereotype, these characteristics from both sexes are true. Ting’s article is based on a study done by behavioral scientists from universities like UCLA, Chapman University, Indiana University and Rutgers University. Ting solidifies further a stereotype into fact. Men seek beauty while women seek money and the novel The Great Gatsby explores this idea. This is the thesis behind the character of Daisy Buchanan. She is a beautiful woman because as a younger woman many men sought her attention and affection. This means that the study done by behavioral scientists in recent time matches the actions of the fictional characters in the novel. Daisy Buchanan, men in the novel, the actions of Tom Buchanan, and the actions of Jay Gatsby are stereotypical and yet true because the men mentioned in the novel are seeking this idealistic form of love personified by Daisy Buchanan.
She is treated as a trophy and a prize that men must compete in order to win. In addition, this furthers the idea that men are seeking beauty and women are seeking money. Jay Gatsby is able to show this idea in the novel. When Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan are left alone to wonder around Jay Gatsby’s house, they finally arrived to his closet. Once there, Jay Gatsby throws shirts at Daisy Buchanan, and she begins to cry. The closet scene in the book is the moral climax of the novel. She begins to cry because she has never seen so many beautiful shirts in her life. This scene is very important because several ideas are being displayed in this scene. One, when Jay Gatsby surrounds Daisy Buchanan with extravagant shirts, it means that she is interested in material things and not the love that she has for Jay Gatsby. It is important to mention that she did love Jay Gatsby when they first meet, and she does love him when they meet again. But Daisy Buchanan is more attracted to money than the love she has for Jay Gatsby, or even her husband. And that is the point of this scene in the novel. Jay Gatsby is chasing after Daisy Buchanan because she is beautiful, and he does love her. However, Jay Gatsby thinks that in order to show any affection towards the woman he loves; he must show a way to measure from which people can rank love: that way to quantify love is money and wealth.
Daisy Buchanan represents other ideas in the novel; she is also the foolishness of love. This idea is not so new, or old either. There are examples of couples who do not seem a good match, e.g. an older man marrying a younger woman. The most obvious modern example is Anna Nicole Smith, who married an 89-year-old billionaire when she was a young woman of twenty-six. This is a real-life-story of an older man who wanted a beautiful woman in his life and the means to persuade her to marry him was his money. In addition, from an objective point of view, this is a foolish move by an octogenarian billionaire. Most young women do not seek older men unless there is something else to be gain, like money. In the case of Anna Nicole Smith, it seems obvious that her marriage with an older billionaire is a relationship of convenience. However, some younger women do want to marry older men, it does exist, but the problem with this notion, it does not appeared to be logical. The most logical aspect about a younger woman and an older billionaire getting married is money and that appears to be a foolish undertaking. In the case of Daisy Buchanan, it is foolish that Jay Gatsby will put on elaborate parties to draw-her in.
Nevertheless, what it shows is that love can be something foolish. And Daisy Buchanan represents this foolishness. Jay Gatsby loves Daisy so much that he is willing to have taken the blame for something Daisy Buchanan did. When Tom, Daisy Buchanan, and Jay Gatsby drive back from the hotel, Daisy hits a woman with Jay Gatsby yellow car. Jay Gatsby quickly takes on the blame because he loves her. It would logical to agree that Jay Gatsby loves Daisy Buchanan so much that he is willing to do anything for her. In addition to the extravagant parties in the hopes that an ex-girlfriend, who is married with children will one day come to his party lacks logic–that notion seems foolish and it lacks common sense. Still, Jay Gatsby does a lot of favors for her in the hopes that her love for him is unbreakable, honest, and only for him.
The folly between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan is the notion that love can be measured, and the way to get that done is with money–and that idea is also foolish. The lesson that the reader can draw from their relationship is that Daisy Buchanan is a woman who is interested in money, and materials things. And Jay Gatsby is a foolish man who has achieved the “American Dream” and he is wasting it all away in order to woo an ex-girlfriend–that seems foolish. However, F. Scott Fitzgerald is able to show that lengths some people will go to have a person to fall in love with them. And as it happens, it is something that does occurred in real-life. People will do idiotic things in the name of love. Jay Gatsby achieved much, but he never finds love. And he is the example of folly in love and how money is a tool that measures how much you can love somebody. However, that seems foolish and yet human.
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