What are the characteristics of Daisy's voice throughout The Great Gatsby?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much like the sound of the Sirens in mythology, Daisy's voice has a seductive and alluring quality.  And, yet it has other tones as well.  Here are some of the descriptions of Daisy's voice: 

In Chapter Five, Gatsby has Nick bring Daisy to his house for their first meeting since they parted five years ago. After Nick and Daisy enter, Nick describes what he first hears:

For half a minute there wasn't a sound.  Then from the living room I heard...part of a laugh followed by Daisy's voice on a clear artificial note.

After Gatsby awkwardly knocks a clock from the mantlepiece, Daisy, "her voice as matter-of-fact as it could be," tells him that they have not met for years.  Later, after it stops raining, Daisy says, "I'm glad, Jay." and her voice is described as "full of aching, grieving beauty, told only of her unexpected joy."

There is a dreamy quality to Daisy's voice, as well. When she glances out of the window at the "pink and golden billow of foamy clouds," Daisy speaks:

"Look at that," she whispered, and then after a moment:  "I'd like to just get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around."

At the end of Chapter 5, Nick observes of Daisy's voice: 

I think that voice held him most with its fluctuating, feverish warmth because it couldn't be over-dreamed--that voice was a deathless song.

During Gatsby's party in Chapter Six, in a continuation of the musical quality of her voice, Daisy sings along to the lyrics of a song in 

a husky, rhythmic whisper, bringing out a meaning in each word that it had never had before and would never have again. When the melody rose her voice broke up sweetly, following it, in a way contralto voices have, and each change tipped out a little of her warm human magic upon the air.

In Chapter Seven when she speaks to her little girl, Daisy's voice "crooned."  Later in this chapter, when Nick remarks that Daisy has "an indiscreet voice" that is "full of--" Gatsby finishes for him, "Her voice is full of money."  That is, Daisy's voice has the tone of someone who has never known deprivation; she is someone who has been educated among the elite and has never wanted for anything.

At times, too, Daisy's voice indicates her sense of superiority as it is commanding as she orders Jordan to open a window and Tom to open the whiskey. Later, when she admits to never having loved Tom, and Tom huskily reminds her a particularly romantic moment from the past, her "voice was cold but the rancour was gone from it."

In Chapter Eight, in a flashback about Gatsby and Daisy, Nick describes a time Gatsby sat on the porch with Daisy, who had a cold, which made her voice "huskier and more charming than ever."

Certainly, the voice of Daisy is as capricious as she, at times charming and alluring and evocative like music, at times illusionary and decadent.



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The Great Gatsby

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