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In The Great Gatsby, why is Daisy's voice "fluctuating, feverish, warm... a deathless...

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taxi889 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted June 14, 2012 at 5:45 PM via web

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In The Great Gatsby, why is Daisy's voice "fluctuating, feverish, warm... a deathless song"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 15, 2012 at 3:32 AM (Answer #1)

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At the end of Chapter Five, Nick reflects that it is Daisy's voice that captivates Gatsby,

I think that voice held him most with its fluctuating, feverish warmth because it couldn't be over-dreamed--that voice was a deathless song.

In contrast to Daisy herself, her voice "is a wild tonic in the rain" of Gatsby's confusion of emotional and moral values with material values.  Like the mesmerizing lure of the Sirens, Daisy's voice is "a deathless song" that continues the "colossal vitality of his illusion" and drives Gatsby to his eventual destruction as in Chapter Eight, her voice that is "full of money" becomes "huskier and more charming than ever." For, it is this charm of money that is the "feverish" and "deathless song" in which Gatsby corrupts his passion, perceiving love as something that can be purchased. After all, since Tom Buchanan bought Daisy for a $350,000 pearl necklace, Jay Gatsby believes he can gain Daisy by means of his material wealth.  Thus, for Gatsby, Daisy's voice, the voice of money, cannot "be over-dreamed" because in Fitzgerald's Jazz Age, the American Dream is the acquisition of wealth.

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andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted February 4, 2015 at 7:06 AM (Answer #2)

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This beautiful description of Daisy's voice epitomises the depth and passion of Jay Gatsby's dream. Everything that makes Gatsby's dream a reality is encapsulated in the allure of Daisy's voice. It is her voice which charms him and makes him believe that his dream can be realised. The fact that he can actually hear her breathe and speak makes Gatsby believe even more that he can realise his ideal - that he can be with Daisy once more for she is there with him, living, breathing, speaking. He is overwhelmed. 

It is terribly sad and ironic that Jay Gatsby is so utterly overwhelmed by this ideal. He had fashioned his entire existence around this dream, but the dream remains just that - a dream.

Jay Gatsby does not accept that his dream is greater than the reality with which he is faced: Daisy is shallow and materialistic. She has used him as a tool (probably to get back at Tom for his affairs). She seeks entertainment since she is bored and is only indulging him. Daisy has no real interest in Jay. She does not love him and is therefore not prepared to sacrifice the comforts that Tom provides. She is more than willing to accept Tom's indiscretions (although she might express annoyance), and would never leave him. She tells Jay that he 'asks too much' which clearly indicates where her sentiments lie.

So, just as much as Daisy's voice is alluring and inviting, it is only 'a voice.' A voice which can be deceptive. It is this 'voice' which eventually, tragically, lures Jay Gatsby to his doom.

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