Does Gatsby love Daisy or the aura of wealth that she owns? The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece about various themes such as class, love and wealth. One of the themes highlighted is romantic affair between two main characters: Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby is clearly obsessed with Daisy, however, it is doubtful that those strong feeling is a proof of love. This essay advocates that Gatsby does not love Daisy but the wealth she symbolizes. Firstly, wealth is the origin of Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy. Gatsby believes he is “the son of God” (Fitzgerald 105) and struggles to civilize himself into a wealthy man. When he is a poor soldier, he meets Daisy, “the first ‘nice’ girl” he has never met (Fitzgerald 158). Throughout the story, it is found that she is ‘nice’ because she is “the golden girl” with the voice “full of money” (Fitzgerald 128).
Gatsby equates Daisy with luxurious things around her (1) and “[is] overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor” (Fitzgerald 160). He is attracted by her beauty but that beauty is also a gift of richness. From the beginning, the trigger of his love for Daisy is merely his worship of Daisy’s wealthy life. Moreover, Gatsby nurtures Daisy’s love for him by showering it only with his wealth and success. He throws lots of big parties to attract Daisy’s attention. Additionally, after five years being separated from Daisy, what Gatsby worries about when he meets her is not whether she misses him but whether his mansion looks well and the first place he wants her to visit is his splendid house (2).
He keeps showing off his belongings and asking Daisy to check whether she is impressed. When “he [revalues] everything in his house according to the measure of response it [draws] from her well-loved eyes” (Fitzgerald 98), it is clear that Daisy’s recognition of his achievements concerns him the most and Gatsby overestimates the importance of material passion in his relationship with Daisy. In the end of the story, when Gatsby is willing to scarify his life-work and fame to save Daisy from being a murderer, this event is argued to be an evidence of love.
However, as he desires her in the same way he is in pursuit of the glory of success and Daisy is only a supreme object helping him to strengthen his achievements, the act of protecting her is merely to protect the thing he longs for in his whole life. To conclude, passion Gatsby has with Daisy cannot be called love. His emotional obsession with her results from his mental obsession with material life. Besides, in Gatsby’s belief, Daisy’s love is kept in existence by his giant property and what he does is just feed this love with money.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Ebook.