Can someone explain Fitzgerald’s contrasting of Daisy and Gatsby’s love in The Great Gatsby?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The contrast Fitzgerald uses for Daisy and Gatsby's love teaches us quite a bit about the era and human nature.

Gatsby, obviously infatuated with Daisy by a variety of evidences, would go to any length to get her and have her. Being unable to do this in the past because of his previous poverty while it appears Daisy came from old money that expected her to marry money, he actually succeeds for a time capturing her attention and affection again. But Daisy won't go that far.

During their relationship, a murder occurs and Gatsby cares not a bit about the death of Myrtle, but about how Daisy felt about seeing it. Gatsby's love is no holds barred, love her under any circumstances... even if she's married.

Daisy was indeed taken with Gatsby and may have had desire to be with him, but not at that cost. Perhaps a Catholic background and the fact that there was a child involved or that Gatsby tried to hurt her husband Tom by saying, "She never loved you," contributed to her disdain for this insane approach to love. Although a victim of the 20s party era, Daisy had order to her approach to love. Gatsby, chaos. Daisy loved the Gatsby that she spent alone time with as her affair, but not the one who suggested a disruption of everything else.


Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There will be many different approaches to this question.  this might be due to the fact that essence of Fitzgerald's work lies in this particular element.  The contrasting of love's vision with Daisy and Gatsby helps to illuminate the theme of hollowness within dreams that are built upon a weak firmament.  Gatsby's love of Daisy might be quite authentic and genuine, but it is pursued in a manner that is shallow and impermanent.  Striving to appeal to her "heart" by living a lavished and wealth- ladened life is the manner by which he seeks to win her charms.  At the same time, Daisy's conception of love seems to lie with who is throwing the best party and who offers the best gossip.  On face value, the contrast between both is that one pursues love in a shallow manner and the other one looks for shallow conceptions of love.  Ironically, one would think that the two of them would be a match made.  Yet, it is in this exact point that Fitzgerald makes his penultimate statement:  The pursuit and embrace of impermanent values can only yield emptiness, at best, and personal destruction, at worst.

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The Great Gatsby

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