In chapter 6, Nick describes Daisy, "But the rest offended her--and inarguably, because it wasn't a gesture but an emotion. She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented 'place' that Broadway...

In chapter 6, Nick describes Daisy, "But the rest offended her--and inarguably, because it wasn't a gesture but an emotion. She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented 'place' that Broadway had begotten upon a Long Island fishing village--appalled by its raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short-cut from nothing to nothing. She saw something awful in the very simplicity she failed to understand."

Please explain this quote to the fullest:

  • What is the significance of this text and the text immediately following it?
  • In what subtleties of the language does Fitzgerald explain the reason Daisy doesn't like the parties and doesn't chose Gatsby over Tom?  

(Please bring quotes from various places in the book to support your answer.)   

Asked on by jjkapen

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter Six of The Great Gatsby, after Daisy has traversed "Marie Antoinette music rooms and Restoration salons" with Gatsby in the previous chapter where she has been impressed with his custom made shirts within his bedroom which holds a comb and brush of dull gold, she and her husband Tom attend a party in West Egg. But, there two separate worlds--the world of old wealth and social position and the world of "nothing to nothing," fast materialism, collide. For, while Daisy is impressed with the charm of movie stars and celebrities with "the sort of blue nose" of illusion that creates romance, Nick notes that except for the time she spends alone with Gatsby, "she wasn't having a good time."

As Daisy glances again at a movie star and her director, she remarks, "I think she's lovely"; however, the behavior of other guests repulses her; there is behavior such as that of the outspoken drunken guest who has one too many cocktails, the shouted exclamations and the heads shoved into the swimming pool in order to sober companions--"the raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms." In Tom's words, these guests are a "menagerie." Significantly, as the Buchanans depart, "Three o'Clock in the Morning," a "neat sad little waltz of that year" drifts out the door with them. For, in the casual atmosphere of Gatsby's party there is an absence of Daisy's world of "romantic possibilities":

It's three o'clock in the morning
Can't even close my eyes....
Well, I can't find my baby
Lord, and I can't be satisfied....

Gatsby's world is too mundane, too brashly materialistic for Daisy, who prefers the illusions attached to wealth, illusions created by flowing white curtains, white couches "buoyed up as though upon an anchored moon" (Ch.1). For, Daisy does not possess the gift of hope, the "incomparable milk of wonder" that Gatsby possesses as he is convinced that he can repeat the past. 

He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.

When he does kiss Daisy, Gatsby hopes then to recapture "some idea of himself...that had gone into loving Daisy." But, this "incarnation" is, sadly, only on his part as Daisy, whose voice is one of "money", tells him later in Chapter Seven, "Oh, you want too much!....I love you now--isn't that enough! I can't help what's past."

Thus, this cited passage from Chapter Six foreshadows the death of Gatsby's dream as Daisy displays her "careless" personality that is superficial and temporal.

Sources:
Wiggin42's profile pic

Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

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Daisy is "appalled by its raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms.." This illustrates how Daisy is overwhelmed by Gatsby's materialistic nature and realism. Daisy prefers "the old euphemisms" of wealth; the old illusions. Gatsby's world is much too grounded in reality for Daisy's comfort. Nick's use of the words "appalled" and "offended" also give a clue into Daisy's mind. The negative connotations of the words demonstrate the negativity Daisy associates with Gatsby.

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