The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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In The Great Gatsby, is Daisy is a victim of her social class and society's restlessness?

Daisy is a not a victim of her social class and society's restlessness. Instead, she is a great manipulator, preserving her desired lifestyle at all costs.

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Julianne Hansen, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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That is a great question! I could not classify Daisy as a victim, but you could certainly make a case for that based on the struggles women faced during this era of American history. Instead, I'd make a case based on the following criteria.

Daisy chose Tom. She could have had Gatsby (or many other men, it seems), yet Tom was her choice. I think she went into this marriage with her eyes wide open. She knows who calls Tom during dinner. She hears his racial slurs. And she knows that this is part of the package she signed up for. That's likely why she wants her daughter to be a beautiful little fool; Pammy can therefore be married to someone with family money—just like her father—and not be bothered by the way her husband will eventually treat her. Daisy has a chance to leave Tom and share her life with someone who adores her, but she doesn't take it. This is the defining moment, I believe. She intentionally chooses status over a better life, so it's hard to see her as a victim of circumstance.

Daisy is also just not a decent person, which Gatsby is blind to, of course. She's willing to have an affair with Gatsby. She's willing to kill a woman and then leave, seemingly without any remorse. She's willing to allow Gatsby to take the blame for all of her actions so that she doesn't have to take responsibility herself. Daisy manipulates this situation and Gatsby so that she can avoid any negative fallout and then quickly moves on with her life with her unfaithful husband.

Daisy does enjoy great material comforts, and society doesn't ask that she do much in return. But she's not a victim. Instead, I see her as a great manipulator, creating a world that best serves her needs and preserves her desired way of life.

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