Does Gatsby Really Love Daisy

In The Great Gatsby, did Gatsby really love Daisy, or was his aim different from just a love?

In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby definitely thinks that he loves Daisy. This love that he feels drives his relentless pursuit of her attention and his desperate schemes to "win" her from Tom. But it seems clear that he's projecting other desires onto Daisy. To him, she represents wealth, fame, power, and all that is "golden." Gatsby's relationship with Daisy never lives up to his expectations. His love for her can only be felt in the pursuit.

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When Gatsby first met Daisy before the war, he was not in love with her. Having come from such humble beginnings himself, Gatsby

was overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor.

To him, Daisy represented everything that he wanted: wealth, status, ease, safety, and financial security. Her house was luxurious, and her porch was bright with starlight. Even the furniture squeaks "fashionably" when she shifts her body on top of it. It is these things that Gatsby wants at first: this brightness, this certainty and confidence, and this fashionability.

However, as he tells Nick, "I can't describe to you how surprised I was to find out that I loved her." He did not intend to fall in love with Daisy, but he did anyway. He hoped that she would break it off with him, making his own life easier, but she did not because she returned his feelings. He knew that he was deceiving her, that she believed he came from the same background as she did—his own origins obscured by his military uniform and manners—but he simply could not bring himself to break the spell between them.

So, in the beginning of their relationship, it was not serious for Gatsby, but it quickly became serious when he found that he had fallen in love with her and she with him.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 19, 2020
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Gatsby may have originally loved Daisy when they first met in 1917 before he left to fight in World War I, although his love was always tinged very strongly with what she symbolized to him. By the time Nick meets Gatsby, however, the idea of Daisy has overwhelmed the woman herself in Gatsby's mind. Gatsby does retain love for Daisy, but she has become not just a dream but the unfilled dream, the embodiment to Gatsby of desire itself. As Nick states on the day Daisy and Gatsby reunite for the first time in five years,

It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He [Gatsby] had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way.

As the novel unfolds, we learn that Gatsby, despite all the stories he weaves about himself, in reality comes from a poor family in North Dakota. His childhood and youth were marred by financial struggle. The only way he could go to college was through a charity scholarship that required him to work as a janitor. This background humiliated him and drove him to pursue a different path.

When he meets Daisy, she represents from the start all the affluence and financial security he never had. She lives in a fine house, wears nice clothes, and has a lovely white car her parents bought for her. Everything about the careless way she acts and her carefree beauty and bright personality radiate a young woman who has never known what it is to want for anything. This attracts Gatsby strongly because it represents everything he always wanted and never had. In many ways, from the start, Daisy is an object for Gatsby which he hopes he can use to make up for his own lack and feel complete.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 18, 2020
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Gatsby loved Daisy, in his way. In ch. 6, after Gatsby's party which Tom and Daisy attended, Jay reveals to Nick how he and Daisy fell in love. He explains that when he kissed her, he fell deeply in love with her. Whether one kiss can being about that kind of enduring love is questionable and certainly a strong argument can be made that what Jay loved was the idea of Daisy more than Daisy herself. She was, after all, beautiful and rich as well as fun. She represented to Jay everything that he knew he wanted in life (and, at the time of their first kiss, did not have). She was his golden girl in every sense of the word. He even says, in ch. 7, that her voice was full of money. Nick realizes also that what Jay Gatsby wanted was for Daisy to tell Tom she didn't love him and magically revert to the Daisy that Jay had fallen in love with five years before the summer of the story. That attests to the idea that Jay loved the idea of Daisy more than he loved the person. Another bit of evidence that leads to that idea is that Nick notes when Jay and Daisy have reunited after the tea party at Nick's, that Jay's list of enchanted objects had been reduced by one; as if there was a slight anti-climax to the renewal of his and Daisy's relationship.

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First of all, you must remember to place the novel in the age it represented-the Jazz Age when anything seemed possible and women, especially wealthy women, were feeling a power they were never able to previously possess. Gatsby certainly did love Daisy, and all she represented to him - -success, power, and glamor. She was the unattainable, his Dream. However, Gatsby creates this love for Daisy, just as he creates a fantasy life. She is integral to his dream for success. In fact, "her voice was full of money," the symbol of the American Deam.Unfortunately, loving for wealth and power usually amounts to little at the end of the day. And Gatsby and his dream are defeated:"He did not know it [his dream]was already behind him... where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night."

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