The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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How is Daisy cynical in The Great Gatsby?  

In The Great Gatsby, Daisy is cynical because, as a wealthy socialite, she realizes that people largely act out of self-interest. To her, social life is often a misery for a woman, and she realizes that her only way to advance in the world is by being a trophy wife. This is largely why she finds Gatsby to be fascinating but, ultimately, a delusional fool.

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Daisy reveals her cynicism to Nick early in the book, during the events of the first chapter. After Tom leaves dinner to answer a call from his mistress, Daisy says that she's feeling "cynical about everything." She recalls the birth of her daughter, an event at which Tom was nowhere to be found. She says that she hoped her daughter would grow up to be a "beautiful fool," as that's the best thing a woman can be.

Daisy is indeed incredibly cynical about the society in which she operates and her station as a woman. She says that she hopes her daughter is a "fool" because she knows that having insight will not improve her daughter's life in any way, as it has not hers. Knowledge will only cause her to become too aware of the reality of being a woman: the reality that one can only improve their life by marrying a wealthy man.

The reason that Daisy cannot ultimately love Gatsby is because of his unrealistic and ultimately misogynistic view of her. Gatsby states that he wanted her to wait and pine...

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