“The Great Gatsby” by Scott Fitzgerald is one of the greatest works of the 20th century with a number of dynamic and round characters representing the key theme of the novel: the triumph of materialism and selfishness over true feelings. The character of Daisy Buchanan is chosen as she is true personification of the main theme. Moreover, her character represents society’s values in the early 20th century. Despite she is three-dimensional character, she is essential to the novel through her themes, conflicts and materialistic personality.
She increases the meaning the author is willing to convey: the true essence of people may be different of what we used to think. Daisy is perfect example of corruption and materialism in American society, and her character proves that positive moral values are often replaced with extreme materialism and selfishness. Daisy: Triumph of Materialism Daisy Buchanan is a dynamic character whose true selfish nature is revealed with the story progression. In the beginning of the story Daisy is presented as innocent, loving and sweet lady. She is one of the most popular young girls in Louisville.
Her white dress symbolizes her kindness, readiness for self-sacrifice, strive for true love and feelings. Daisy’s exquisite charm has nothing to do with her inner world. When Daisy is off the company, she is personable and radiant, whereas when she is alone, she is a bored housewife with no importance to the world. However, her innocence is false, as Daisy is materialistic underneath her white dress. Fitzgerald portrays Daisy being happy when she is provided with all she wants, and when circumstance are going according to her plan.
Such changeability of Daisy’s character turns the story from a happy-end tale into saga of unhappy lives. From the very beginning Daisy is portrayed as a doom character, as she is concerned only with her own financial stability. Daisy seems not to be ready to accept true love if her financial stability is at risk. She marries Tom Buchanan for her security and material stability, and Tom is not associated with Daisy’s true love. When Jordan Baker sees Daisy in the hotel room before her wedding, she “groping around in the waste-basket she had with her on the bed and pull[ing] out [a] string of pearls.
"Take ‘em down-stairs and give ‘em back.... Tell ‘em all Daisy’s change’ her mine... She began to cry - she cried and cried... we locked the door and got her into a cold bath”. (Fitzgerald, p. 77) In such a way Fitzgerald shows Daisy’s marriage is not based on love, but she decided to marry him because of his position in society and bank account. The character of Daisy represents the importance of material wealth in American society as money is the top priority in her life.
Daisy’s husband, her friends and even three-year old daughter seem to accept her passion for material stability as a mere fact. Fitzgerald shows Daisy lives in the most elite and luxurious neighborhood in the country, her house is the most exquisite and elegant, and she wants her daughter to grow up in luxury like she has: “And I hope she'll be a fool - that's the best thing a girl can be in this world today, a beautiful little fool”. (Fitzgerald, 24) Daisy’s materialism is presented in large window and halls, where the most elite and extraordinary parties are held.
In such a way, Fitzgerald portrays Daisy fully relies on material goods as all her stories are centered on her expensive gowns and home furniture. Daisy is identified with luxurious life in Bloomingdales, and everyone who is out-of-the place of the richest and most popular citizens is shunned and neglected. Even Pammy, Daisy’s three-year old daughter, is presented as inanimate object for her. Fitzgerald stresses Pammy might be not wanted. (Leland & Person, p. 252-254) Further, Fitzgerald shows Daisy always relies on men.
In her quest for material stability she always tends to find someone who would assist her in her quest. Daisy is a young lady, whose financially stable existence is based on what the men she has married, who has supported her, not on what she has achieved personally. Tom Buchanan is a handsome young man with successful career of football player. However, Daisy doesn’t admit his personal accomplishments. Instead, Tom attracts her for his abundant wealth and Daisy realizes she will have no financial problems if she marries him.
Daisy and Tom are married for Daisy’s financial support, not for love and affection. Gatsby’s party illustrates the ills of their marriage: “Go ahead,’ answered Daisy genially, ‘and if you want to take down any address here’s my gold pencil. ’... She looked around after a moment and told me the girl was common but pretty, and I knew that except for the half-hour she’d been alone with Gatsby she wasn’t having a good time”. (Fitzgerald, 107) Daisy is resourceful when it appears her life and wealth depends on her decisions.
For example, when Daisy has to tell Tom and Jay Gatsby whom she loves, she confesses she is in love with Tom, not with Gatsby, as she is afraid of loosing her position in society and material stability. Daisy is not willing to deny her love go Tom as she depends on him: “I love you now – isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past... I did love him once-but I loved you too! ”. (Fitzgerald, 133) In such a way, Daisy shows she loves Tom as he is rich and wealthy, but had Jay Gatsby been wealthier, she might have married him as well. When Daisy met Gatsby, he was a poor officer and Daisy disguised his uniform.
And it is undying love for Daisy that made Gatsby to spend his life earning enough money illegally to make him able to buy Daisy’s love. Again, Daisy is portrayed as materialistic and selfish lady worrying about herself. The most unnerving part of her character is that she is totally unhappy with all her wealth, position in society, luxurious gowns and home furnishing. Daisy is central to destruction of Jay Gatsby’s dream. Gatsby’s dream begins as a search for love and happiness, but is corrupted by money. Similar to Daisy, Gatsby believes money will make him happy and he will buy everything he wants.
When Gatsby becomes rich, he focuses on Daisy as she is the only thing between him and happiness. This situation personified the meaning the author is willing to convey – American Dream is always corrupted by material wealth. Nonetheless, in Daisy’s image Fitzgerald shows reality may appear not what you expect from it. Gatsby sees Daisy as innocent and sweet young lady, whereas underneath her white dress she is showy and crude motivated by material wealth and position in society. She appears someone she is not, just as society in the early 20th century.
With active nightlife, everyone wanted something not to be revealed. (Fahey, 1973) In the end of the novel it may seem Daisy wants true love, without material goods and strings. For her, love is what she has never accepted and what you make out of it. However, her life is mockery of love. When Daisy is offered love, she even fails to react to it: “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”. (Fitzgerald, 43) Fitzgerald presents Daisy as martyr of her actions and life. Conclusion Daisy Buchanan is an excellent example of materialistic views, quest for wealth, selfishness, reliance on men and emphasis on money. Daisy is personification of the early 20th century, when everything was thought to be bought and sold. In her image Fitzgerald conveys that focus on material benefits leads to total moral and physical destruction.
Daisy’s destruction is mental and spiritual as she is someone who prefers financial stability instead of true love. Through the image of Daisy Buchanan Fitzgerald shows happiness and love can’t be bought, wealth and financial well-being don’t ensure happy marriage and true feelings – Daisy lives in misery her entire married life and things supposed to bring her happiness have lent her heartbreak. She is shallow and superficial with no regard to moral nature. And when it seems Daisy strives to find true love, materialistic nature is till triumphing over love and affection.