How does Nick finally explain the charm of Daisy's voice? In what sense, then, is Daisy connected to "His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar and meretricious beauty"?

Asked on

2 Answers | Add Yours

andrewnightingale's profile pic

Posted on

Nick expresses the notion that the charm of Daisy's voice is derived from the fact that she is incredibly wealthy. Her voice is "full of money," says Jay Gatsby. It is in this moment that Nick realizes that Daisy's attraction and Gatsby's fascination with her have their roots in the fact that she comes from a wealthy background and has married into wealth. Symbolically then, her voice has the ring of "a king's daughter." She is "the golden girl," "high in a white palace."

The implication is that Daisy is no ordinary girl. She is special and far removed from the common and mundane. Money makes her grand and different. It is money which makes her almost unattainable, like the fabled princess who lives in a high tower. She is "golden" because she is precious and she is a "girl" because her attraction lies in the fact that she exudes a vitality commonly found in those who are not burdened by financial constraints, who can exercise almost their every whim.

To Jay Gatsby, then, Daisy becomes the object of his romantic ideal: the fairy princess, and he, her prince charming. Only, Jay has to work hard to attain a position to be worthy of her and it is because of this that he had to go about his "Father's business." 

Jay's "adopted" father, Dan Cody, had introduced him to wealth and its power. Dan Cody was in the business of money and for Jay to realize his dream, he has to attain wealth, and this is exactly what he does. In the process, he changes his name from the ordinary and insignificant James Gatz to the pretentious but more memorable Jay Gatsby.

The "service" that Jay has to offer is his commitment to obtain vast wealth, relish the vulgarity of it and become its servant. His relationship with wealth leads to his audacious, over-the-top parties, his friendship with characters from the underworld (Meyer Wolfshiem et al) and fleeting associations with vulgar, pretentious individuals.

Wealth's beauty is "meretricious" - it is deceptive and paints a false image, it is a lie, just as Jay Gatsby's wealth is a lie, for he obtains it through criminal means. However, obtaining this wealth is what Jay Gatsby felt compelled to do to, once again, be with Daisy. He tragically discovers that his dream could never be, for Daisy tells him that he "asks too much."

In the end, James Gatz dies alone, forsaken and abandoned.  

ronchar's profile pic

Posted on

Here is the quotation that addresses that question directly:

" 'Her [Daisy's] voice is full of money,' he [Gatsby] said suddenly.
"That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it...high in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl."

--The Great Gatsby

We’ve answered 301,344 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question