My essay question is: How does FSF present the characters in the first chapter? (e.g., setting, speech, body lanaguage etc)I've chosen Daisy and Tom as my two characters. Can you give me some help,...

My essay question is: How does FSF present the characters in the first chapter? (e.g., setting, speech, body lanaguage etc)

I've chosen Daisy and Tom as my two characters. Can you give me some help, like parts of the texts (quotations) what they suggest about the character etc? What the setting suggests? Connotation. Any termonology that is used etc.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

Expert Answers
mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In terms of setting, speech tone, and body language, Tom and Daisy are foils.  Obviously, Tom is uber-male--as macho, condescending, and self-important as any character in literary history.  He's a racist, sexist, violent, and materialistic primate.

Tom says:

“Now, don’t think my opinion on these matters is final,” he seemed to say, “just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are.”

Tom's voice, according to Nick:

His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked — and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts."

Daisy, on the other hand, is a flighty, gossipy temptress in denial of her husband's infidelities and cruelties.  She is so insecure that she laughs at every little thing:

“I’m p-paralyzed with happiness.”  She laughed again, as if she said something very witty, and held my hand for a moment, looking up into my face, promising that there was no one in the world she so much wanted to see. That was a way she had.

Everything she says is punctuated with unneeded exclamations, which shows just how insecure she is.  In short, she tries too hard to notice and be noticed because, deep down, she knows her existence is based on her illegitimate status: she's a trophy wife in denial.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

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