Five years prior to the actual Great Gatsby’s beginning, Jay Gatsby had studied how to behave as one of the rich from Dan Cody. Until going to fight in the First World War, Jay Gatsby was posted in Louisville, Kentucky, He encountered Daisy Fay in Louisville, a beautiful young heiress who is ten years younger than him, who took him for someone who is in her social class. Gatsby preserved the lie which really enabled the progress of their relationship. Gatsby fell in love with Daisy and her assets, and she fell for him, not quite to the same extent. Gatsby had already enlisted and had to leave for the war. Then Daisy met Tom Buchanan before he returned to the United States in 1919.
Determined to get her back Gatsby meets the gangster Meyer Wolfshiem, and ventures into bootlegging and other illegal activities so that he can eventually make enough money to provide for her. At the beginning of the Great Gatsby, Gatsby is ready to attempt to win Daisy back, ignoring the fact that she is married to Tom and has a family with him. There are a few descriptions and moments of Gatsby in the first chapter, but one of the most important is Daisy coming to attention upon hearing his name instantly. ‘You must know Gatsby.’ ‘Gatsby?’ demanded Daisy. ‘What Gatsby?’ Clearly, she always knows him and maybe even thinks of him, but her shock shows she assumes he was lost to the war, buried deep in her memory. I also believe this shows how much she actually cared for him. So much she wanted to be sure which Gatsby they were talking about.
This corresponds to the end of the chapter and Gatsby is reaching across the bay towards the green light at the end of Daisy’s pier. Although Daisy finds Gatsby to be nothing more than a pleasant memory, Gatsby considers Daisy to be his goal in life. It is obvious even in chapter one the affection that Gatsby still holds for Daisy is far stronger than her desire for him. We can tell this from chapter four when Jordan says ‘Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.’ Showing the extent that Gatsby is willing to go to just be close to her. Also showing that he is trying to be an equal rival to her husband when it comes to terms of what he can provide for her.
Gatsby’s love for Daisy has seems to be an obsession of his. Which to anyone would be the illusion of love. He is in love with his mind’s image of Daisy from his past and it shapes how he thinks of his future with her. In the fourth chapter, we discover from Jordan the story of Daisy and Gatsby. Specifically, how they had met in Louisville, but when Gatsby went to the army, it came to an end. She even recounts the day before her wedding, after getting a letter from Gatsby, “Take ‘em downstairs and give ‘em back to whoever they belong to. Tell ‘em Daisy’s change’ her mine”. This scene proves that Daisy does, in fact, feel something for Gatsby. I can’t wholeheartedly say that this is love but some infatuation, because once she thinks things through she still goes through with her marriage to Tom Buchannan.
Even though Daisy made the decision to still marry Tom she felt conflicted. This is proven in chapter seven when she says to Gatsby “I love you now…I did love him once–but I love you too”. I believe that Daisy chose to stay with her husband because of the promises he made when Gatsby wanted to take her away. Her husband has proven in the past that he can take care of her in the way she is accustomed to living. There is a scene where we get to see more of Daisy’s emotions. Where she says ‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.’ Gatsby gets the opportunity to show off his mansion and huge wealth to Daisy, and she breaks down through a very visible display of Gatsby’s wealth. I believe Daisy started to cry because she felt guilty, that Gatsby achieved so much just for her, or maybe regret that she might have been able to be with him if she had the strength to wait for him and walk away from her marriage to Tom. Nevertheless, unlike Gatsby, whose motives are fully exposed, it is difficult to know what Daisy is thinking and how she is invested in her relationship, despite how openly emotional she is during the encounter.
When comparing Gatsby and Tom I can say that they both share in common: wealth, being flashy, the greed for more, and both lie to be happier. I also think this is where the similarities between them end. Tom has several instances where he promotes his hegemonic whiteness when he says “It is up to us who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things”. This also proves that he believes himself to be superior to other races and found “scientific” research to back up his standing. There is another example of his racist tendencies when he says “Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life…they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white”. With the time the book was written in mind this quote helps to explain not only the mindset of the upper class but the social climate.
When thinking of comparing Tom and Gatsby you understand that they are the representations of Hegemonic Masculinity, rivals for love. Hegemonic masculinity is defined as a practice that legitimizes men’s dominant position in society and justifies the subordination of the common male population and women and other marginalized ways of being a man. Gatsby appears more like a tragic hero motivated by his passion for Daisy. Tom, on the other side, given or perhaps because of his training and schooling, is more of an antagonist or beast as Daisy called him.
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