What does Jay ask Daisy to do? What is her reply? What does this show about their characters in The Great Gatsby?
This is supposed to be on the day after the big party at Gatsby's house that Daisy and Tom both attend.
During the big confrontation between Gatsby and Tom, Gatsby asks Daisy to deny her love for Tom while she hesitates to do so. The conversation is as hot as the weather on the summer day that the entire group retreats to New York City in order to have their big confrontation at the Plaza Hotel. Gatsby's moment is finally here. He needs nothing more than for Daisy to pronounce her love for him and negate her love for Tom. That, however, isn't quite what transpires:
"Just tell him the truth--that you never loved him--and it's all wiped out forever."
She looked at him blindly. "Why--how could I love him--possibly?"
"You never loved him."
She hesitated. Her eyes fell on Jordan and me with a sort of appeal, as though she realized at last what she was doing--and as though she had never, all along, intended doing anything at all. But it was done now. it was too late.
"I never loved him," she said, with perceptible reluctance. (132-133)
Therefore, Daisy's first reply is to skirt around the request. She doesn't say that she never loved Tom, but instead asks another question of "how" she could have loved him "possibly." It is obvious, even at this early point, that Daisy doesn't want to complete the request. When Gatsby becomes insistent, Daisy complies with great reluctance. In regards to Daisy's character, this shows that she certainly did love Tom (and possibly still does). It also shows that Daisy never intended this affair to be carried quite this far, . . . far enough to disrupt her easy life in East Egg. In regards to Gatsby's character, this shows exactly how far Gatsby is willing to take his obsession: now demanding answers compliant with his thoughts. Gatsby has gone too far. Indirectly, this overstep of bounds leads to Gatsby's death soon after.