Has anyone noticed any symbols pointing out Daisy and Tom as symbols of death & destruction throughout The Great Gatsby?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The description of Tom at his first appearance in the "present" of the story as "a cruel body" (11) gives us the idea of "death and destruction."  Nick uses words like "hard," "dominance," and "aggressively" to describe him (11). 

A page later, as Tom enters the drawing room,

Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly the floor (12). 

So, you can see Tom is someone who literally can take the air out of a room!  We get another hint of Tom's destructive bent in the same scene when we see Daisy's black and blue finger, which Tom has injured (16).  Tom continues to be aggressive and destructive throughout the story.  And it is at his insistence that she is in a car with Gatsby on the way home. 

I see Daisy as a symbol of carelessness more than one intentional destructiveness, carelessness born of being of a certain class in that time and place. Certainly, she brings death and destruction to Myrtle, to Wilson, and to Gatsby, but more from a dreadful negligence than from what I see as the willful cruelty of Tom.  

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The Great Gatsby

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