I think Gatsby loved Daisy for what she represented, but I need proof from the text.
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Hmmmm, . . . I never really considered the feeling to be "love," per se. I'm not sure Daisy and Gatsby have been together long enough to grow into a love relationship. I always thought of Daisy as an obsession for Gatsby (or at the very least, a quest). I would point to Gatsby staring into the night at the green light at the end of Daisy's dock, having lavish parties to attract her attention, making money only to win Daisy, using Daisy's cousin Nick to arrange a "perfect" first meeting, taking the fall for the car crash only to save Daisy's sanity, . . . and oh yeah, buying the multi-million dollar home just to be near her! These are more signs of obsession than love, if you ask me.
Your question pays great tribute to the author, F.Scott Fitzgerald because your question is The Question Fitzgerald was asking the reader to address in The Great Gatsby...How do you define love?
I think Gatsby really liked Daisy and I think Daisy really liked Gatsby...but I also think that Fitzgerald set us up for the 'so-called' reality check in The Great Gatsby. Gatsby always knew it, he felt it deep inside his soul, after their reunion ... something wasn't right ... then she finally said it...'Rich girls don't marry poor boys',
Really love her? I think he thought he did...however I do not think Gatsby's definition of love is not in alignment with a true definition of love. Nor do I believe she understood the power of love any better, especially when she was willing to allow another to take the blame for her indescretions.
The moral of the story......even though materialistism might look better on the outside, never trade it in for the real thing...
From the time he was a boy growing up in North Dakota, Gatsby loved romance in its wider definition. He longed for beauty, glamour, and excitement--all of which existed for him only in his dreams. When he met Daisy in Louisville--a beautiful girl living in a beautiful house pursued by many other men who found her most desirable--she became the physical embodiment of his dreams. Fitzgerald wrote that when Gatsby kissed her, "the incarnation was complete."
Gatsby spent one month in Louisville loving Daisy. She was the first "nice girl" with whom he had ever had an intimate relationship. Hiding his personal background from her, he became part of her world for that short time. Did Gatsby love Daisy? He hardly knew her. He loved what she represented to him, and he loved who he was while he was with her. No doubt the physical attraction was strong between them. After he left to go overseas, Daisy was caught packing her bags to see him in New York before he shipped out. When her family stopped her, she didn't speak to them for several months. Gatsby, for his part, lived on his memory of their time together and dedicated the rest of his life to getting back to that time. Nick observed that Gatsby "wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy." Gatsby, in truth, was seeking more than the girl who used to live in Louisville.
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