The Great Gatsby Symbolism Analysis

Saturday, January 15, 2022 4:30:12 PM

The Great Gatsby Symbolism Analysis



She tells the The Unintentional Murder In Edgar Allan Poes The Black Cat of how she and Tom met like it's the beginning of Maya Angelou Still I Rise Essay love story. In Screwtape Letter Character Analysis moment, Maya Angelou Still I Rise Essay begins to believe Wang Lung In The Good Earth appreciate Gatsby, and not just Why Are The 1960s So Popular him ted baker swot analysis a puffed-up fraud. Since World War I caused such a disruption in the world, it The Great Gatsby Symbolism Analysis easily be said that is why people developed this type of mentality. Anna Wulick. Daisy and Gatsby Screwtape Letter Character Analysis reunite in Chapter 5, Screwtape Letter Character Analysis book's mid-point. But why time management is important than Tom's physical attraction to Screwtape Letter Character Analysis, we don't get as clear of a ted baker swot analysis of his motivations until later on.

Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

The novel also shows the way money gives people power, in which it says. As America evolves throughout the twentieth century, so does what people view as important, which adds on to what the American Dream means. The culture of the s encouraged spending and materialism so people sought money, power, and expensive items to make them happy. There is a difference between being selfish and being greedy. During the Gilded Age, America was characterized as the Land of the Free, which attracted immigrants from all over the world to come live the American Dream. Was it greedy or selfish for these immigrants to come to America and improve their way of living?

During the Gilded Age, greed is what motivated industrial innovation and for people to improve their ways of living. There is this idea that a person who comes from humble origins could achieve the Dream if they are willing to work hard and take advantage of opportunities. This is seen in Gatsby and Myrtle where they bootleg and commit adultery respectively. Though, the frowning eyes of Dr. Eckleburg look down on the Valley of the Ashes as if to say that the American Dream is one big lie. The American Dream produced wealth for some, but for the majority of people their hopes for gold is just like the ashes. People might think that this creates a new place for them to just get drunk and be reckless, but it actually gives them a safe place to drink responsibly so they are kept off the streets where they could be seriously harmed.

In addition to the increase in customers at local restaurants and such, the government will begin to see an increase in tax. Le Guin wrote several different things for different people. The novel is not only a widely read Nobel Peace Prize But also widely taught because of the extensive amount of subtext that helps create the meaning of this novel. There are several types of rhetoric that Elie uses to create this subtext, including tone, organization, and repetition.

Tone is the one unique elements of the author's attitude towards the subject. From attention to detail, to setting, to literary devices used throughout this story, Fitzgerald really hit home with this one. With the many different writing details used in this story,. The intrinsic complexity but simultaneous possibility for varied interpretation. Scott Fitzgerald uses a unique system of color descriptions to mold his story.

His use of these colors had an astounding impact throughout his writing. Fitzgerald transformed something as simple as colors into a crucial element to his story. The colors create a situation that allows the reader to interpret the true meaning of the scene. Dystopian novels have an entrancing factor that allows them to captivate the American public like no other genre. The main reason why these dystopian worlds resonate with so many people is because they address present day problems in outlandish but conceivable ways, "whatever its artistic or philosophic qualities, a book about the future can interest us only if its prophecies look as though they might conceivably come true.

While The Handmaid 's Tale focus on a variety of issues, such as the mistreatment of women, it also realistically illustrates the mental deterioration that occurs during prolonged periods of isolation in captivity. Atwood clearly emphasizes this point through the inclusion of Offred 's inner thoughts; which in turn, help to illuminate to the reader the process of this deterioration. In many great literary novels, justice is one of the key themes that is studied, debunked, and questioned. Some of them hint at it; others dedicate the entire novel to the idea of it. For Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell, justice is touched on in many different ways than is usual for great novels.

Despite being written nearly two thousand years apart, both stories share similar ideas about the idea and pursuit of justice. While the specific justices do vary, both are alike in the tragic outcomes that befall each main character. In Chapter 7, as Daisy tries to work up the courage to tell Tom she wants to leave him, we get another instance of her struggling to find meaning and purpose in her life. Beneath Daisy's cheerful exterior, there is a deep sadness, even nihilism, in her outlook compare this to Jordan's more optimistic response that life renews itself in autumn. That was it. I'd never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it. High in a white palace the king's daughter, the golden girl.

Gatsby explicitly ties Daisy and her magnetic voice to wealth. This particular line is really crucial, since it ties Gatsby's love for Daisy to his pursuit of wealth and status. It also allows Daisy herself to become a stand-in for the idea of the American Dream. We'll discuss even more about the implications of Daisy's voice below. I can't help what's past. During the climactic confrontation in New York City, Daisy can't bring herself to admit she only loved Gatsby, because she did also love Tom at the beginning of their marriage. This moment is crushing for Gatsby, and some people who read the novel and end up disliking Daisy point to this moment as proof. However, I would argue that Daisy's problem isn't that she loves too little, but that she loves too much.

She fell in love with Gatsby and was heartbroken when he went to war, and again when he reached out to her right before she was set to marry Tom. And then she fell deeply in love with Tom in the early days of their marriage, only to discover his cheating ways and become incredibly despondent see her earlier comment about women being "beautiful little fools". So by now she's been hurt by falling in love, twice, and is wary of risking another heartbreak. Furthermore, we do see again her reluctance to part with her place in society. Being with Gatsby would mean giving up her status as old-money royalty and instead being the wife of a gangster.

That's a huge jump for someone like Daisy, who was essentially raised to stay within her class. So it's hard to blame her for not giving up her entire life not to mention her daughter! Tom is established early on as restless and bored , with the threat of physical aggression lurking behind that restlessness. With his glory days on the Yale football team well behind him, he seems to constantly be searching for—and failing to find— the excitement of a college football game. Perhaps Tom, like Gatsby, is also trying, and failing, to repeat the past in his own way. The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be—will be utterly submerged. It's all scientific stuff; it's been proved. In Chapter 1 , we learn Tom has been reading "profound" books lately, including racist ones that claim the white race is superior to all others and has to maintain control over society.

This speaks to Tom's insecurity—even as someone born into incredible money and privilege, there's a fear it could be taken away by social climbers. That insecurity only translates into even more overt shows of his power—flaunting his relationship with Myrtle, revealing Gatsby as a bootlegger, and manipulating George to kill Gatsby—thus completely freeing the Buchanans from any consequences from the murders. Early in the book, Tom advises Nick not to believe rumors and gossip, but specifically what Daisy has been telling him about their marriage.

Nick certainly is wary of most people he meets, and, indeed, he sees through Daisy in Chapter 1 when he observes she has no intentions of leaving Tom despite her complaints: "Their interest rather touched me and made them less remotely rich—nevertheless, I was confused and a little disgusted as I drove away. It seemed to me that the thing for Daisy to do was to rush out of the house, child in arms—but apparently there were no such intentions in her head" 1. But as the book goes on, Nick drops some of his earlier skepticism as he comes to learn more about Gatsby and his life story, coming to admire him despite his status as a bootlegger and criminal. This leaves us with an image of Tom as cynical and suspicious in comparison to the optimistic Gatsby—but perhaps also more clear-eyed than Nick is by the end of the novel.

Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time. After seeing Tom's liaisons with Myrtle and his generally boorish behavior, this claim to loving Daisy comes off as fake at best and manipulative at worst especially since a spree is a euphemism for an affair! We also see Tom grossly underreporting his bad behavior we have seen one of his "sprees" and it involved breaking Myrtle's nose after sleeping with her while Nick was in the next room and either not realizing or ignoring how damaging his actions can be to others.

He is explicit about his misbehavior and doesn't seem sorry at all —he feels like his "sprees" don't matter as long as he comes back to Daisy after they're over. In short, this quote captures how the reader comes to understand Tom late in the novel—as a selfish rich man who breaks things and leaves others to clean up his mess. That's one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn't far wrong. Again, Tom's jealousy and anxiety about class are revealed. Though he immediately pegs Gatsby for a bootlegger rather than someone who inherited his money, Tom still makes a point of doing an investigation to figure out exactly where the money came from. This shows that he does feel a bit threatened by Gatsby , and wants to be sure he thoroughly knocks him down.

But at the same time, he's the only one in the room who sees Gatsby for who he actually is. This is also a moment where you, as a reader, can really see how clouded Nick's judgment of Gatsby has become. He won't annoy you. I think he realizes that his presumptuous little flirtation is over. A common question students have after reading Gatsby for the first time is this: why does Tom let Daisy and Gatsby ride back together? If he's so protective and jealous of Daisy, wouldn't he insist she come with him?

The answer is that he is demonstrating his power over both Daisy and Gatsby —he's no longer scared that Daisy will leave him for Gatsby, and he's basically rubbing that in Gatsby's face. He's saying that he doesn't even fear leaving them alone together, because he knows that nothing Gatsby says or does would convince Daisy to leave him. It's a subtle but crucial show of power—and of course ends up being a fatal choice. That fellow had it coming to him. He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy's but he was a tough one. He ran over Myrtle like you'd run over a dog and never even stopped his car.

One of Tom's last lines in the novel, he coldly tells Nick that Gatsby was fooling both him and Daisy. Of course, since we know that Gatsby didn't actually run over Daisy, we can read this line in one of three ways:. They're so intimate. At small parties there isn't any privacy. This is an early example of Jordan's unexpectedly clever observations —throughout the novel she reveals a quick wit and keen eye for detail in social situations. This comment also sets the stage for the novel's chief affair between Daisy and Gatsby, and how at the small party in Chapter 7 their secrets come out to disastrous effect. Compare Jordan's comment to Daisy's general attitude of being too sucked into her own life to notice what's going on around her. That's why I like you. Here we get a sense of what draws Jordan and Nick together—he's attracted to her carefree, entitled attitude while she sees his cautiousness as a plus.

After all, if it really does take two to make an accident, as long as she's with a careful person, Jordan can do whatever she wants! We also see Jordan as someone who carefully calculates risks —both in driving and in relationships. This is why she brings up her car accident analogy again at the end of the book when she and Nick break up—Nick was, in fact, a "bad driver" as well, and she was surprised that she read him wrong. Another example of Jordan's observant wit , this quote about Daisy is Jordan's way of suggesting that perhaps Daisy's reputation is not so squeaky-clean as everyone else believes. After all, if Daisy were the only sober one in a crowd of partiers, it would be easy for her to hide less-than-flattering aspects about herself. In this moment, Nick reveals what he finds attractive about Jordan—not just her appearance though again, he describes her as pleasingly "jaunty" and "hard" here , but her attitude.

She's skeptical without being fully cynical, and remains upbeat and witty despite her slightly pessimistic outlook. At this point in the story, Midwestern Nick probably still finds this exciting and attractive, though of course by the end he realizes that her attitude makes it hard for her to truly empathize with others, like Myrtle. In contrast to Daisy who says just before this, rather despairingly, "What will we do today, and then tomorrow, and for the next thirty years? As we'll discuss later, perhaps since she's still unmarried her life still has a freedom Daisy's does not, and the possibility to start over.

While she's not exactly a starry-eyed optimist, she does show a resilience, and an ability to start things over and move on, that allows her to escape the tragedy at the end relatively unscathed. It also fits how Jordan doesn't seem to let herself get too attached to people or places, which is why she's surprised by how much she felt for Nick. I don't give a damn about you now but it was a new experience for me and I felt a little dizzy for a while. Jordan doesn't frequently showcase her emotions or show much vulnerability, so this moment is striking because we see that she did really care for Nick to at least some extent. Notice that she couches her confession with a pretty sassy remark "I don't give a damn about you now" which feels hollow when you realize that being "thrown over" by Nick made her feel dizzy—sad, surprised, shaken—for a while.

Wilson had changed her costume some time before and was now attired in an elaborate afternoon dress of cream colored chiffon, which gave out a continual rustle as she swept about the room. With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur. Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment and as she expanded the room grew smaller around her until she seemed to be revolving on a noisy, creaking pivot through the smoky air. Here, we see Myrtle transformed from her more sensuous, physical persona into that of someone desperate to come off as richer than she actually is.

Wielding power over her group of friends, she seems to revel in her own image. Unlike Gatsby, who projects an elaborately rich and worldly character, Myrtle's persona is much more simplistic and transparent. Notably Tom, who immediately sees Gatsby as a fake, doesn't seem to mind Myrtle's pretensions—perhaps because they are of no consequence to him, or any kind of a threat to his lifestyle. Here we see Myrtle pushing her limits with Tom—and realizing that he is both violent and completely unwilling to be honest about his marriage.

While both characters are willful, impulsive, and driven by their desires, Tom is violently asserting here that his needs are more important than Myrtle's. After all, to Tom, Myrtle is just another mistress, and just as disposable as all the rest. Also, this injury foreshadows Myrtle's death at the hands of Daisy, herself. While invoking Daisy's name here causes Tom to hurt Myrtle, Myrtle's actual encounter with Daisy later in the novel turns out to be deadly.

When George confronts his wife about her affair, Myrtle is furious and needles at her husband—already insecure since he's been cheated on—by insinuating he's weak and less of a man than Tom. Also, their fight centers around her body and its treatment, while Tom and Daisy fought earlier in the same chapter about their feelings. In this moment, we see that despite how dangerous and damaging Myrtle's relationship with Tom is, she seems to be asking George to treat her in the same way that Tom has been doing.

Myrtle's disturbing acceptance of her role as a just a body—a piece of meat, basically—foreshadows the gruesome physicality of her death. Michaelis and this man reached her first but when they had torn open her shirtwaist still damp with perspiration, they saw that her left breast was swinging loose like a flap and there was no need to listen for the heart beneath. The mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners as though she had choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long.

Even in death, Myrtle's physicality and vitality are emphasized. In fact, the image is pretty overtly sexual—notice how it's Myrtle's breast that's torn open and swinging loose, and her mouth ripped open at the corners. This echoes Nick's view of Myrtle as a woman and mistress, nothing more—even in death she's objectified. This moment is also much more violent than her earlier broken nose. While that moment cemented Tom as abusive in the eyes of the reader, this one truly shows the damage that Tom and Daisy leave in their wake, and shapes the tragic tone of the rest of the novel. Generally he was one of these worn-out men: when he wasn't working he sat on a chair in the doorway and stared at the people and the cars that passed along the road.

When any one spoke to him he invariably laughed in an agreeable, colorless way. He was his wife's man and not his own. After our first introduction to George, Nick emphasizes George's meekness and deference to his wife, very bluntly commenting he is not his own man. Although this comment reveals a bit of Nick's misogyny—his comment seems to think George being his "wife's man" as opposed to his own is his primary source of weakness—it also continues to underscore George's devotion to Myrtle. George's apparent weakness may make him an unlikely choice for Gatsby's murderer, until you consider how much pent-up anxiety and anger he has about Myrtle, which culminates in his two final, violent acts: Gatsby's murder and his own suicide.

His description also continues to ground him in the Valley of Ashes. Unlike all the other main characters, who move freely between Long Island and Manhattan or, in Myrtle's case, between Queens and Manhattan , George stays in Queens, contributing to his stuck, passive, image. This makes his final journey, on foot, to Long Island, feel especially eerie and desperate. Some man was talking to him in a low voice and attempting from time to time to lay a hand on his shoulder, but Wilson neither heard nor saw.

His eyes would drop slowly from the swinging light to the laden table by the wall and then jerk back to the light again and he gave out incessantly his high horrible call. George is completely devastated by the death of his wife, to the point of being inconsolable and unaware of reality. Although we hear he treated her roughly just before this, locking her up and insisting on moving her away from the city, he is completely devastated by her loss. This sharp break with his earlier passive persona prefigures his turn to violence at the end of the book.

You may fool me but you can't fool God! Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. Eckleburg which had just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night. Something made him turn away from the window and look back into the room. But Wilson stood there a long time, his face close to the window pane, nodding into the twilight. George is looking for comfort, salvation, and order where there is nothing but an advertisement. It also speaks to how alone and powerless George is, and how violence becomes his only recourse to seek revenge.

In this moment, the reader is forced to wonder if there is any kind of morality the characters adhere to, or if the world really is cruel and utterly without justice—and with no God except the empty eyes of Dr. Click on the title of each theme for an article explaining how it fits into the novel, which character it's connected to, and how to write an essay about it. Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry "Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you! The epigraph of the novel immediately marks money and materialism as a key theme of the book—the listener is implored to "wear the gold hat" as a way to impress his lover.

In other words, wealth is presented as the key to love—such an important key that the word "gold" is repeated twice. It's not enough to "bounce high" for someone, to win them over with your charm. You need wealth, the more the better, to win over the object of your desire. Our introduction to Tom and Daisy immediately describes them as rich, bored, and privileged. Tom's restlessness is likely one motivator for his affairs, while Daisy is weighed down by the knowledge of those affairs. This combination of restlessness and resentment puts them on the path to the tragedy at the end of the book. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.

At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city, between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.

And on Mondays eight servants including an extra gardener toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before…. The description of Gatsby's parties at the beginning of Chapter 3 is long and incredibly detailed, and thus highlights the extraordinary extent of Gatsby's wealth and materialism. In contrast to Tom and Daisy's expensive but not overly gaudy mansion , and the small dinner party Nick attends there in Chapter 1 , everything about Gatsby's new wealth is over-the-top and showy, from the crates of oranges brought in and juiced one-by-one by a butler, the "corps" of caterers to the full orchestra.

Everyone who comes to the parties is attracted by Gatsby's money and wealth, making the culture of money-worship a society-wide trend in the novel, not just something our main characters fall victim to. After all, "People were not invited—they went there" 3. No one comes due to close personal friendship with Jay. Everyone is there for the spectacle alone. He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher—shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of Indian blue.

Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. Gatsby, like a peacock showing off its many-colored tail, flaunts his wealth to Daisy by showing off his many-colored shirts. And, fascinatingly, this is the first moment of the day Daisy fully breaks down emotionally—not when she first sees Gatsby, not after their first long conversation, not even at the initial sight of the mansion—but at this extremely conspicuous display of wealth. This speaks to her materialism and how, in her world, a certain amount of wealth is a barrier to entry for a relationship friendship or more.

Daisy herself is explicitly connected with money here, which allows the reader to see Gatsby's desire for her as desire for wealth, money, and status more generally. So while Daisy is materialistic and is drawn to Gatsby again due to his newly-acquired wealth, we see Gatsby is drawn to her as well due to the money and status she represents. I couldn't forgive him or like him but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified.

It was all very careless and confused. They were 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 had made. Here, in the aftermath of the novel's carnage, Nick observes that while Myrtle, George, and Gatsby have all died, Tom and Daisy are not punished at all for their recklessness, they can simply retreat "back into their money or their vast carelessness… and let other people clean up the mess.

But I didn't call to him for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone—he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. In our first glimpse of Jay Gatsby, we see him reaching towards something far off, something in sight but definitely out of reach.

This famous image of the green light is often understood as part of The Great Gatsby 's meditation on The American Dream—the idea that people are always reaching towards something greater than themselves that is just out of reach. You can read more about this in our post all about the green light. The fact that this yearning image is our introduction to Gatsby foreshadows his unhappy end and also marks him as a dreamer, rather than people like Tom or Daisy who were born with money and don't need to strive for anything so far off.

Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world. A dead man passed us in a hearse heaped with blooms, followed by two carriages with drawn blinds and by more cheerful carriages for friends. The friends looked out at us with the tragic eyes and short upper lips of south-eastern Europe, and I was glad that the sight of Gatsby's splendid car was included in their somber holiday.

As we crossed Blackwell's Island a limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish Negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry. Early in the novel, we get this mostly optimistic illustration of the American Dream—we see people of different races and nationalities racing towards NYC, a city of unfathomable possibility. This moment has all the classic elements of the American Dream—economic possibility, racial and religious diversity, a carefree attitude.

At this moment, it does feel like "anything can happen," even a happy ending. However, this rosy view eventually gets undermined by the tragic events later in the novel. And even at this point, Nick's condescension towards the people in the other cars reinforces America's racial hierarchy that disrupts the idea of the American Dream. There is even a little competition at play, a "haughty rivalry" at play between Gatsby's car and the one bearing the "modish Negroes. In other words, he seems to firmly believe in the racial hierarchy Tom defends in Chapter 1, even if it doesn't admit it honestly. His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy's white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.

So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete. This moment explicitly ties Daisy to all of Gatsby's larger dreams for a better life —to his American Dream. This sets the stage for the novel's tragic ending, since Daisy cannot hold up under the weight of the dream Gatsby projects onto her. Instead, she stays with Tom Buchanan, despite her feelings for Gatsby. Thus when Gatsby fails to win over Daisy, he also fails to achieve his version of the American Dream. This is why so many people read the novel as a somber or pessimistic take on the American Dream, rather than an optimistic one. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. The closing pages of the novel reflect at length on the American Dream, in an attitude that seems simultaneously mournful, appreciative, and pessimistic.

It also ties back to our first glimpse of Gatsby, reaching out over the water towards the Buchanan's green light. Nick notes that Gatsby's dream was "already behind him" then, in other words, it was impossible to attain. But still, he finds something to admire in how Gatsby still hoped for a better life, and constantly reached out toward that brighter future. For a full consideration of these last lines and what they could mean, see our analysis of the novel's ending. Why they came east I don't know. They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together.

Nick introduces Tom and Daisy as restless, rich, and as a singular unit: they. Despite all of the revelations about the affairs and other unhappiness in their marriage, and the events of the novel, it's important to note our first and last descriptions of Tom and Daisy describe them as a close, if bored, couple. In fact, Nick only doubles down on this observation later in Chapter 1. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl.

And I know. I've been everywhere and seen everything and done everything. It made me uneasy, as though the whole evening had been a trick of some sort to exact a contributory emotion from me. I waited, and sure enough, in a moment she looked at me with an absolute smirk on her lovely face as if she had asserted her membership in a rather distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belonged. In this passage, Daisy pulls Nick aside in Chapter 1 and claims, despite her outward happiness and luxurious lifestyle, she's quite depressed by her current situation. At first, it seems Daisy is revealing the cracks in her marriage —Tom was "God knows here" at the birth of their daughter, Pammy—as well as a general malaise about society in general "everything's terrible anyhow".

However, right after this confession, Nick doubts her sincerity. And indeed, she follows up her apparently serious complaint with "an absolute smirk. Well, Nick goes on to observe that the smirk "asserted her membership in a rather distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belonged. Over the course of the novel, both Tom and Daisy enter or continue affairs, pulling away from each other instead of confronting the problems in their marriage. However, Gatsby forces them to confront their feelings in the Plaza Hotel when he demands Daisy say she never loved Tom. Although she gets the words out, she immediately rescinds them—"I did love [Tom] once but I loved you too!

Here, Tom—usually presented as a swaggering, brutish, and unkind—breaks down, speaking with "husky tenderness" and recalling some of the few happy moments in his and Daisy's marriage. This is a key moment because it shows despite the dysfunction of their marriage, Tom and Daisy seem to both seek solace in happy early memories. Between those few happy memories and the fact that they both come from the same social class, their marriage ends up weathering multiple affairs. Daisy and Tom were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table with a plate of cold fried chicken between them and two bottles of ale. He was talking intently across the table at her and in his earnestness his hand had fallen upon and covered her own.

Once in a while she looked up at him and nodded in agreement. They weren't happy, and neither of them had touched the chicken or the ale—and yet they weren't unhappy either. There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture and anybody would have said that they were conspiring together. By the end of the novel, after Daisy's murder of Myrtle as well as Gatsby's death, she and Tom are firmly back together, "conspiring" and "careless" once again, despite the deaths of their lovers.

As Nick notes, they "weren't happy…and yet they weren't unhappy either. So the novel ends with them once again described as a unit, a "they," perhaps even more strongly bonded since they've survived not only another round of affairs but murder, as well. I heard footsteps on a stairs and in a moment the thickish figure of a woman blocked out the light from the office door. She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can. Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering.

She smiled slowly and walking through her husband as if he were a ghost shook hands with Tom, looking him flush in the eye. Then she wet her lips and without turning around spoke to her husband in a soft, coarse voice:. A white ashen dust veiled his dark suit and his pale hair as it veiled everything in the vicinity—except his wife, who moved close to Tom. As we discuss in our article on the symbolic valley of ashes , George is coated by the dust of despair and thus seems mired in the hopelessness and depression of that bleak place, while Myrtle is alluring and full of vitality. Her first action is to order her husband to get chairs, and the second is to move away from him, closer to Tom. In contrast to Tom and Daisy, who are initially presented as a unit, our first introduction to George and Myrtle shows them fractured, with vastly different personalities and motivations.

We get the sense right away that their marriage is in trouble, and conflict between the two is imminent. I never was any more crazy about him than I was about that man there. Here we get a bit of back-story about George and Myrtle's marriage: like Daisy, Myrtle was crazy about her husband at first but the marriage has since soured. But while Daisy doesn't have any real desire to leave Tom, here we see Myrtle eager to leave, and very dismissive of her husband. Myrtle seems to suggest that even having her husband wait on her is unacceptable—it's clear she thinks she is finally headed for bigger and better things. Again, in contrast to the strangely unshakeable partnership of Tom and Daisy, the co-conspirators, Michaelis briefly taking over narrator duties observes that George "was his wife's man," "worn out.

Rather than face the world as a unified front, the Wilsons each struggle for dominance within the marriage. A moment later she rushed out into the dusk, waving her hands and shouting; before he could move from his door the business was over. We don't know what happened in the fight before this crucial moment, but we do know George locked Myrtle in a room once he figured out she was having an affair. So despite the outward appearance of being ruled by his wife, he does, in fact, have the ability to physically control her.

However, he apparently doesn't hit her, the way Tom does, and Myrtle taunts him for it—perhaps insinuating he's less a man than Tom. This outbreak of both physical violence George locking up Myrtle and emotional abuse probably on both sides fulfills the earlier sense of the marriage being headed for conflict. Still, it's disturbing to witness the last few minutes of this fractured, unstable partnership. In the first chapter, we get a few mentions and glimpses of Gatsby, but one of the most interesting is Daisy immediately perking up at his name.

She obviously still remembers him and perhaps even thinks about him, but her surprise suggests that she thinks he's long gone, buried deep in her past. This is in sharp contrast to the image we get of Gatsby himself at the end of the Chapter, reaching actively across the bay to Daisy's house 1. While Daisy views Gatsby as a memory, Daisy is Gatsby's past, present, and future. It's clear even in Chapter 1 that Gatsby's love for Daisy is much more intense than her love for him. Then it had not been merely the stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor. In Chapter 4, we learn Daisy and Gatsby's story from Jordan: specifically, how they dated in Louisville but it ended when Gatsby went to the front.

She also explains how Daisy threatened to call off her marriage to Tom after receiving a letter from Gatsby, but of course ended up marrying him anyway 4. Here we also learn that Gatsby's primary motivation is to get Daisy back, while Daisy is of course in the dark about all of this. This sets the stage for their affair being on unequal footing: while each has love and affection for the other, Gatsby has thought of little else but Daisy for five years while Daisy has created a whole other life for herself.

Daisy and Gatsby finally reunite in Chapter 5, the book's mid-point.

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