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Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby: Character Analysis & Quotes

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Instructor: Terri Beth Miller

Terri Beth holds a PhD in English language and literature from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She also holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, and a BA in English from Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee. Since 2005, she has taught literature, writing, and philosophy courses at the university and graduate levels. Though Terri Beth loves books and writing of all kinds, her heart lies especially with British Victorian and Modernist literature, as well as the novels of Virginia Woolf, George Eliot, the Bronte sisters, and, to mix things up a bit, Salman Rushdie!

Daisy Buchanan is a significant character and symbol of the paragon of perfection embedded in the works of ''The Great Gatsby''. Learn more about her character analysis, quotes, purpose, and what she means to the storyline. Updated: 11/30/2021

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.

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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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'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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