The Best Way for Women to Survive
The Best Way for Women to Survive
“I hope that she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool”, Daisy says in the book The Great Gatsby written by F.Scott Fitzerald (20). In her mind, to be foolish is the best way to survive in the 1920’s in America, an era when women are not treated as fairly as men. Based on Nick’s narration, Daisy is an extraordinarily charming, desirable, but careless and selfish character who is married to a wealthy and, powerful, young man named Tom Buchanan. Daisy breaks the promise with Gatsby, as a smart and subtle woman, who only concerns herself with her own benefits. However, she acts superficially as a poor fool since she always lives in her own illusion, and doesn’t know what is she really wants. When Daisy confronts a situation that she needs to make choices between things, she always runs away from them and prefers to keep everything unchanged and controlled, in order to get rid of the pressure, insecurity and conflicts in her deep inside.
None but a fool would do such a thing since everyone knows that nothing lasts forever. To marry Tom is what Daisy has to do because she is tired of waiting, waiting for Gatsby to come back. She feels satisfied and secured when she decides to marry Tom. However, on the night before her wedding, Daisy pulls out “a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars”, and wants Jordan “tell’em all Daisy’s change her mine”, and she “cried and cried” (91, 92). Finally, “the pearls were around her neck and the incident was over” only “half an hour later” (92). After Daisy receives a letter from Gatsby, she does try to change her mind for Gatsby. However, this sudden letter breaks Daisy’s plan. Daisy can’t accept this change because she wants a steady life out of her illusion, which is in her control. As a result, she is married to Tom to finish what she plans to. After the marriage, even though Daisy suffers from the betrayal and abandonment from Tom, she still stays with him.
She puts her real feelings away and walks into her “well-designed” illusory world. For instance, when Tom receives a call from his mistress, he goes inside to pick up the call without a world, Daisy then “suddenly threw her napkin on the table and excused herself and went into house” (17). In other words, Daisy clearly knows the affair of her husband. She just buries her miserable emotion inside and doesn’t complain. Moreover, on the day when Daisy’s daughter is born, Tom is “God knows where” (20). This implies one of the causes why Daisy feels “cynical” about everything and becomes more careless (19). It is torturing that her husband does not stay with her even on the day her daughter was born but what Daisy does is just turning away her head and weeping hopelessly. There is no doubt that Daisy understands her marriage is based on the money. She doesn’t gain happiness even though she gets her so called security and wealth from Tom. Ironically, she pretends that everything is going well and doesn’t face the problems in her life. Isn’t she a fool? Apparently, she just tries to obtain what would make her life easier, without realizing what she really wants. Daisy knows about her life as a certain way: calm and stable.
Therefore, she would never choose Gatsby before she met Tom nor after her marriage. When Gatsby requires Daisy to tell Tom she never loves Tom, Daisy cried to Gatsby, “You want too much. I love you now—isn’t that enough?” (158). The word “cried” vividly exhibits how scared and nervous Daisy is at that time, which also reveals that she doesn’t even know how to deal with the problems that happens beyond her illusion. Additionally, she “sobs helplessly” and says to Gatsby, “I did love him once—but I loved you too” (159). To keep her marriage with Tom and affair with Gatsby at the same time definitely is a silly, bad idea, which foreshadows that Daisy would have chosen one of them eventually. What’s more, Daisy runs away with Tom after the car accident. After all Gatsby is the one who takes the blame of killing for Daisy, but she neither calls Gatsby nor goes to his funeral. Once again, from the beginning to the end, Daisy never thinks about to elope with Gatsby because she can’t accept the truth: the appearance of Gatsby is about to ruin her life which is supposed to be stable.
Daisy realizes that she is living in her illusion, but she is still unwilling to face the truth. After struggling with the conflicts in her mind, she always chooses to escape from the reality. She gets what she wants from Tom, but at the expense of losing her morality and the ability and right of enjoying the true love and pursuing what she wants. As a woman living in 1920s when women are tend to be ignored, Daisy’s destiny can be said as a misery, or tragedy. When Daisy is being lured to go away from husband and family by Gatsby, her marriage is put into the edge and, she is blamed for the affair. Being a product for which the men are fighting further emphasizes that, Daisy’s sadness and all her careless, foolish actions are resulted from the cruel society. From all of Daisy’s sufferings, it is not hard to understand that why she says she wants her daughter to be a little fool at the beginning of the book. Truly, only being a fool can she avoid herself from all the unnecessary problems.
Fitzgerald, F S. The Great Gatsby. 1st ed. Toronto, Ontario: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, Print.