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Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby: Character Analysis & Quotes

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  • 0:01 Monied Voice of Daisy Buchanan
  • 0:53 'Beautiful Little Fool'
  • 2:20 'Her Voice Is Full of Money'
  • 3:18 'Such Beautiful Shirts'
  • 4:17 'Borne Back…
  • 5:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Terri Beth Miller

Terri Beth has taught college writing and literature courses since 2005 and has a PhD in literature.

This lesson examines the character of Daisy Buchanan in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 masterpiece''The Great Gatsby.' It also analyzes key quotes relating to this iconic character.

Monied Voice of Daisy Buchanan

F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel The Great Gatsby is considered one of the most important novels in all of American literature. In it, Fitzgerald captures the inimitable spirit of the Roaring Twenties and creates some of the most iconic characters in all of literature, from the unforgettable Jay Gatsby to the Louisville debutante Daisy Fay Buchanan, the dream girl who drives Gatsby's ambitions and frustrates his desires.

While Gatsby is rightly esteemed as one of the most illustrious characters in all of American literature, it is his dream girl, Daisy, who fuels his success. It is all to win the love of his Daisy that Gatsby becomes 'The Great'. So who is Daisy, and what is it about her that inspires such breathtaking passion? A few quotes from the text may help us to better understand Daisy and her irresistible charm.

'Beautiful Little Fool'

'That's the best thing a girl can be in this world -- a beautiful little fool,' Daisy says. On the surface, Daisy may not seem to be very bright. A pampered heiress from an old Louisville family, Daisy has lived a life of luxury and ease. And she wants nothing more than to keep it that way.

But in her indulged naiveté, an idealist like Gatsby can find a blank slate on which to write his every romantic fantasy. She seems the pristine and fragile princess crying out for the protection of a hero, for the kind of knight in shining armor that Gatsby aspires to be. Her beauty and seeming ignorance, the lack of volition and guile, and the ethereal otherworldliness that her money provides for her drive Gatsby's fascination.

She exists in stark contrast from the women of Gatsby's previous experience. Born of a destitute North Dakota family, the women Gatsby has known in the past were hardscrabble and jaded, coarsened by the struggle to survive. But the boy who was born 'Jimmy Gatz' possessed an audacious capacity for hope and in his fantasies of the life he would build for himself, nothing short of a fairy tale princess, an idealized image of the perfect woman, would suffice for a mate. Daisy, the 'beautiful little fool', fits the bill precisely. On the canvas of her lovely emptiness, Gatsby can inscribe all his most cherished dreams.

'Her Voice Is Full of Money'

For the penniless and nameless Gatsby, a woman like Daisy, with her illustrious pedigree and endless reservoir of money, is the embodiment of all hope: 'Her voice is full of money,' he says. She is the personification of everything that Gatsby wishes to create, of all that he feels he should have been born into but was not. She is the image of the past recaptured and corrected, the luminousness of wrongs made right.

Daisy's 'monied' voice is her weapon and her defense. Time and time again throughout the novel, Daisy uses her voice cunningly to draw others in; they often must lean in to hear her speak, and this symbolizes the genuflection, the courteous bow, that Daisy seeks from all those around her. She requires, expects, and demands both protection and deference, the life of ease and solicitude that wealth and a family name can buy.

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