What does Gatsby mean when he says Daisy's voice is "full of money"?
8 Answers | Add Yours
It is Nick who first comments on Daisy's voice and what he says is 'she's got an indiscreet voice'. Money and indiscretion are both present in her voice and are therefore linked. Her indiscretion is a factor of her money. Nick himself is thought to be careful by Jordan, so it is not something he is likely to approve of.
By the end Daisy and Tom and by extension rich people like them are seen by Nick as not just indiscreet but irresponsible, their wealth literally allowing them to get away with murder, to escape any responsibility for Gatsby's death. Nick comments 'They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness'. Here money and carelessness are synonymous and Nick is sickened by the sort of behaviour that wealth allows; Daisy and her voice was an earlier image of this.
In this passage from Chapter 7, Nick is trying to pinpoint what is so elusive about the quality of Daisy's voice. Gatsby notes that her voice is "full of money," meaning she has the tonal quality of never knowing want, of having always been well provided for, of being elitely educated. These facts are unconsciously conveyed by the lilt of her voice and the inflections of her vowels and consonants. Gatsby and Nick, on the other hand, are from a working class backgrounds. Nick still struggles, but Gatsby has succeeded monetarily. Still, he has not the history of wealth that backs Daisy's sense of security. His speech is practiced and measured rather than effortless and secure.
Gatsby knows the sounds of old money when he hears it.
On one level, Gatsby's comment reveals his crassness, the lack of culture behind his facade. To fully understand Gatsby's description of Daisy's voice we must look, in comparison, at how Nick describes Daisy's voice: "I looked back at my cousin, who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again" & "there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour". Both of these references highlight the intense sensitivity of Nick's eyes and ears. They also hint at a form of feeling towards Daisy, his cousin, that goes beyond the mere familial.
Again, later in the first chapter Nick describes Daisy's voice as "glowing and singing", a synaesthetic description merging the impressions of both his eyes and his ears again.
Only a few lines on, Nick again eulogises about Daisy's voice: "a stirring warmth flowed from her, as if her heart was trying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words" - the stirring here is ambiguous, but the deep emotion perceived by Nick within her words (she is speaking about Nick at the time) suggests that he luxuriates in her attention, almost improperly.
When Daisy and Gatsby are reunited, Nick's first impression is that her voice is "artificial" towards Gatsby, perhaps a manifestation of his jealousy now that her attention has been diverted. Only a few lines on from this Nick again damns her feelings towards Gatsby, and their bond, via his description of her voice - a voice that once glowed - as "her voice as matter-of-fact as it could ever be".
Fascinatingly, Nick changes his tune once her perceives the change in Gatsby - and note the echo of words with Daisy's voice: "He literally glowed". After this impression, Nick alters his description of Daisy's voice from artificiality and triviality to a profound admiration once more: "[h]er throat, full of aching, grieving beauty, told only of her unexpected joy." Nick is clearly struck by their encounter and no longer belittles it. In fact, within a chapter Nick is back to his old, hyperbolic ways: "Daisy began to sing with the music in a husky, rhythmic whisper, bringing out a meaning in each word that it had never had before and would never have again...her voice broke up sweetly, following it, in a way contralto voices have, and each change tipped out a little of her warm human magic upon the air."
On the one hand, Nick happily discusses the fact that Daisy's voice is an affectation, designed to lure men in, on the other he lets himself be lured and his various rich rhapsodies on her voice detail not only its power but also his power as a narrator. Her voice is, if we believe Nick, her most defining feature, and for Gatsby it is "full of money" because Daisy & money are one and the same. Gatsby has conflated his dream of wealth with his dream of Daisy, he chose her rather than the white steps leading to a more rarefied world. Yet her world is "artifical", suggesting any dream of wealth for a poor kid in 1920s America was as elusive, as undefinable, as a beautiful girl's voice.
Daisy represents what Nick has always desired: wealth, respectability, power, success. Attainment of her would cement his place in the new America as she is 'old money' and therefore would provide him access to their closed world. Nick is 'nouveau riche' - whilst this provides material possessions it does not mean credibility. Daisy possesses this allure, thus her voice is 'full of money'. It is a metaphor, too, for her greed and materialism.
Daisy's tone is judged to be the typical 'rich woman', although she is seen to be the 'perfect' woman. By describing her voice with the use of riches it is probably a fine detail to show her arrogance and character, however it is mostly used to present Daisy as refined and beautifullly spoken.
In Th Great Gatsby Daisy acts as a link not only to the corruption of the american dream but also to money/wealth. "her voice is full of money" suggests that not only does she have alot of money that she also represents what they class as "old money." The upper class in America
It can also be seen as a comment on Gatsby's love of Daisy.
He doesn't love her particularly, but he really loves the idea of her, and what she represents, which is money, security, and old wealth like jamie-wheeler said.
Nick has told us that Daisy's voice is her most alluring quality, so you can take what you like from that.
We’ve answered 317,964 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question