What Does Jordan's Story Of Daisy's Marriage Reveal About Daisy
In chapter 4 of The Great Gatsby, what does Jordan's story of Daisy's marriage reveal about Daisy?
In a chapter that develops the characterization of Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker offers some startling facts.
In Chapter Four, "Gatsby's grail (Daisy) starts to take place in sordid reality" [Enotes] as Jordan recounts the history of Daisy and Gatsby while she and Nick sit in the tea-garden at the Plaza Hotel. She tells Nick that Daisy Fay was quite the debutante who the "excited young officers" from Camp Taylor who often phoned for the privilege of taking her on dates.
One day as Jordan walked along the sidewalk and lawns of Daisy's neighborhood, she happened upon Daisy's white roadster. Daisy was sitting inside with a lieutenant unfamiliar to Jordan. Jordan recalls this incident because of her conversation with Daisy and because Daisy and the lieutenant seemed so engrossed in their tête-à-tête. Jordan adds,
The officer looked at Daisy...in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at sometime, and because it seemed romantic to me.
The next year Jordan heard rumors of Daisy's having been prevented by her parents from going to New York in order to say goodbye to a soldier who was being sent overseas. After this incident, Daisy no longer dated any soldiers. In June of that same year, Daisy Fay married Tom Buchanan of Chicago in a lavish wedding. On the day before their marriage, Tom gave her a string of pearls valued at $350,000.
Interestingly, Jordan relates how Daisy reacted to her gift:
Only thirty minutes prior to the bridal dinner, Daisy was lovely in her flowered dress, but "drunk as a monkey." She asked Jordan to take the pearls and return them to "whomever they belong to. Tell 'em Daisy's change' her mine." [sic] After this exchange, Jordan and the maid bathed Daisy in a cold tub of water with Daisy clinging to a letter which was soon reduced to shreds.
After thirty minutes and spirits of ammonia, Daisy was "hooked back" into her dress, and as she wore the pearls around her neck," Tom Buchanan "took her as his wife." After the reception, they set sail on a three month trip to the South Seas. When they returned, the woman who married money and material possessions was "mad about her husband." Further, Jordan remarks that Daisy was popular in Chicago and came away with an "absolutely perfect" reputation. But, curiously, Jordan adds,
"Perhaps Daisy never went in for amour at all--and yet there's something in that voice of hers...."
Jordan's last remark suggests that while Daisy succumbed to the lure of extravagant materialism, she may still believe in the romantic love she once had.
The account we are given by Jordan regarding Daisy and her marriage to Tom is interesting on a number of counts. Firstly, we are told that Daisy is found drunk just before the bridal dinner, saying that she has changed her mind and won't marry Tom after all. As she cries, Jordan notes that she has a letter clutched in her hands. Although the letter is ruined and so can never be read, it is strongly implied in the account that this letter is from Gatsby:
She wouldn't let go of the letter. She took it into the tub with her and squeezed it up into a wet ball, and only let me leave it in the soap-dish when she saw that it was coming to pieces like snow.
This, together with the drunkenness and Daisy's change of mind, suggests that Daisy did love Gatsby and did want to marry him, but that having had this emotional release, the forces of society reasserted themselves and she married Tom the next day "without so much of a shiver." Daisy is therefore revealed as a complex character, who probably did love Gatsby, but at the same time felt pressurised into making a "suitable match" according to the dictates of society.