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Themes in Chapter 7 -The Great Gatsby
Perception vs. Reality
In Chapter 7, Gatsby sees Pammy, Daisy's daughter, for the first time. In Gatsby's idealized vision of Daisy, he has effectively ignored the fact that she's married and has a child. This is part of his dream-induced journey and why he has denied himself the ability to see the difference between his perception and reality. Gatsby is so enamored with Daisy and caught up in his ideal perception of her, that he almost can't believe it when he sees her daughter.
Gatsby and I in turn leaned down and took the small, reluctant hand. Afterward he kept looking at the child with surprise. I don’t think he had ever really believed in its existence before.
Another theme, in the wider context of social classes, is the idea of money. Gatsby felt he needed to accumulate wealth and prestige to impress Daisy. This is one superficial flaw in his otherwise romantic notions of her. He readily accepts that his means of getting to her was money. He also accepts that money is one of her motivations in life. He acknowledges this when he says, "Her voice is full of money." Nick realizes, that although this sounds like an insult about one who is an elitist obsessed with money, this is part of the mystique of Daisy as someone who is like an elusive, expensive prize in Gatsby's eyes.
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....
Another theme is seeing. There are a lot of references to seeing in this chapter and this ties in with the theme of appearance (or perception) vs. reality. Nick notes the billboard, the eyes of the absent God-like T.J. Eckleburg watching over the Valley of Ashes, thus reinforcing the difference between the wasteland of George Wilson's world with the luxury of Daisy's and Tom's World. There is the gaze of Myrtle from above who, Nick concludes, believes that Jordan is Tom's wife, a case of false perception stemming out of jealousy. Myrtle's stare at Tom is a parallel for the way Gatsby looks at Daisy. After the car accident, Gatsby waits outside the Buchanan's place to make sure Daisy is safe from Tom. Nick leaves him:
So I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight — watching over nothing.
Just as Myrtle falsely believed she could have a life with Tom, Gatsby believed, even more stubbornly, that he could win Daisy from Tom. It seems he genuinely loves her, or at least the idea he has of her, but this project has somewhat objectified her as well. Gatsby's gaze "over nothing" is reminiscent of the ending of Chapter 1 when Nick watches Gatsby watching the green light at the end of Daisy's dock, dreaming of something that might not be there.
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