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to think Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby) is one of the worst examples of a woman? (contains spoilers!)

62 replies

CartwrightMiss · 04/06/2013 21:23

Ok so it's only fiction and set in the 1920s.

But Daisy really has no redeeming qualities about her. How she could not pay her respects to Gatsby or at least acknowledge his death. Sure Gatsby himself was flawed but Daisy is a selfish and weak woman.


OP posts:
PacificDogwood · 04/06/2013 22:43

The whole book is an ?allegory of American society: not at all classless, Old Money counts for more than New Money, you have Right to the Pursuit of Happiness, but no way of actually achieving it. Gatsby counts for something, but ulitmately not a lot, because he did not come from a 'Good Family', his money came from alcohol bootlegging and he was a bit deluded and very naive to think that simply by being rich and throwing lavish parties would make Daisy love him like he loved her.

It's decptively complex book considering it's so simple and short.
The more I think about it the more I like it.

No wonder contemporary authors struggle to write their Big American Novel Grin.

CartwrightMiss · 04/06/2013 22:45

Sorry didn't think I'd need to provide a spoiler for an extremely well known book that was published in 1925.

OP posts:
DoctorAnge · 04/06/2013 22:47

"rich girls don't marry poor boys"


CartwrightMiss · 04/06/2013 22:49

I do get that shes suppose to represent The American Dream and if she and Gatsby ran away together it wouldn't really mean much.

She just really does not have one redeeming feature that could make you remotely sympathise with her.

Doesn't help that Daisy was based on Zelda either.

OP posts:
sassytheFIRST · 04/06/2013 22:50

I love this book - teach it every year and never fail to be moved by it and by Fitzgerald's fabulous writing.

Daisy is a weak person at best - materialistic, shallow, faithless and trapped by her class and the time she inhabits. At worst, she is a murderer - she swings the wheel of the yellow car BACK having swerved away once. But her dis likability is part of what makes the book so brilliant - gatsby adores an idea of the woman, the real woman is a disappointment.

NorthernLurker · 04/06/2013 22:53

Not only is it a very well known book but there's also been a very successful film with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow previously too. A spoiler alert is NOT required.

ParkerTheThief · 04/06/2013 22:55

Daisy and Tom are both awful.
The beautiful fool comment was actually said by Zelda Fitzgerald when their daughter Scottie was born.

greencolorpack · 04/06/2013 22:57

I remember reading the book and falling into a coma of boredom. Nothing happens and then nothing else happens and then there's a car crash and someone dies, that's it, the end. That's how I remember the book but I hated it because I had been led to expect it to be this great massive tome of English literature. My expectations were very high.

None of the characters have redeeming features, I kept feeling sorry for little Pammy the daughter, Gatsby would probably have drowned her in the swimming pool what with his obsession with blocking out the last five years and the inconvenience of Daisy having a kid. Poor Pammy!!!

ovenchips · 04/06/2013 23:03

I can't think in terms of Daisy as the worst example of being a woman or anything else really.

I do think she's a wonderful character in one of the best books I've ever read.

I nearly swooned with happiness the first time I read it.

PessimisticMissPiggy · 04/06/2013 23:03

YANBU I wish I knew more about literature to have a proper debate about it.

Wasn't it so in the 20's that women had to savvy about the man they chose to be with? Love wasn't a luxury that they could afford.

I spent most of the film wondering where her child was!

CartwrightMiss · 04/06/2013 23:07

I do think she's a wonderful character in one of the best books I've ever read

Really? Interested to see why you think that, if you don't mind sharing your reasons.

OP posts:
Ilovegeorgeclooney · 05/06/2013 06:11

But one of the reasons Gatsby loves her is the way she is a product of her upbringing "a voice full of money".

hackmum · 05/06/2013 09:01

In the film, Carey Mulligan plays her quite sympathetically, so it comes as a shock at the end to realise she doesn't really care.

She is a very unlikeable character, though perhaps not as unlikeable as Tom. Obviously you're not supposed to like them, but it does make it a difficult book to engage with, in my view. It is one of those books that really divides opinion.

Latara · 05/06/2013 09:23

Oh dear, i didn't even know it was actually a book!

Education-by-Mumsnet... i might bother to see the film now, it sounds more interesting than i'd thought it would be.

DaemonPantalaemon · 05/06/2013 09:39


Are you serious? You really did not know there is a famous American novel called 'The Great Gatsby'?


ovenchips · 05/06/2013 11:59

CartwrightMiss I mean Daisy is a wonderfully drawn character rather than an example of anything good. She isn't likeable but she is very interesting to read about.

The Great Gatsby IMHO is a perfect book. I was completely bowled over by the writing and it being so evocative yet without any extraneous words (it's v short book).

One of those books that you read and think you could never, ever, ever have written even a paragraph of and feel madly jealous about.

I've not seen the film and probably won't just in case it spoils it for me.

Remotecontrolduck · 05/06/2013 13:21

Agree hackmum, Daisy in the film wasn't as horrid as Daisy from the book. It at times felt as though she actually loved Gatsby, which sort of deafeated the whole point of her character.

I didn't like the film that much, there were some incredibly shot scenes but details like the presentation of Daisy and Tobey Maguire as Nick in the sanitarium didn't work for me at all.

DevlinMaccabee · 05/06/2013 13:24

Yes, Old Sport, I agree that Daisy is not very nice at all.

treas · 05/06/2013 13:31

My vote would go to Becky Sharp personally

RevealTheHiddenBeach · 05/06/2013 13:44

The beautiful fool comment has just struck me as extra interesting - I'm reading Austen at the moment, and in one of the books (northanger abbey I think?) there's a bit about how the best way for a woman to be is pretty and to know nothing, so that the 'man can shape her mind' - which then kind of puts Daisy in a different light for me. She's not a character I would look up to but I do feel a bit sorry for her. (this is based on the book - I haven't seen the film yet!)

LadyClariceCannockMonty · 05/06/2013 13:48

'She is a product of her upbringing and environment. The "beautiful little fool" comment is heartbreaking. That's all Women could be to survive in that world. Her false little world.'

I agree with this. She is meant to be a rather empty, shallow person and a bit of a cipher, because in her world that's what a woman was supposed to be. At least as long as she was also pretty and wealthy.

Gatsby is so easily seduced by surface beauty, wealth and its attendant power that of course he's seduced by her. But he's also shallow and lacking a moral compass, so he can't or won't see that she doesn't really care about much or have much to offer.

AphraBehn · 05/06/2013 16:13

Reveal Are you reading NA for an exam next Friday by any chance?

LaurieFairyCake · 05/06/2013 16:22

I thought the acting by Carey Mulligan/Leonardo de Caprio and er.... Spider-Man was amazing.

They brought real depth to the characters. I've not really been a big fan of Leonardos til he did The Reader ?(the one with Kate Winslet) - and I haven't see his 'Edgar' yet but I thought he was phenomenal as Gatsby.

OliviaMMumsnet · 05/06/2013 20:20

Hello Know this is a well known classic but we've been asked to flag the spoliers for those who may not know the ending>

AtYourCervix · 05/06/2013 20:42


That's like not mentioning everyone dying at the end of Romeo & Juliet.

Or Lizzy and Darcy getting it on.

Or the bondage in 50 shades.


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