The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Why Does Daisy Cry About The Shirts

What does the following quote say about Daisy from The Great Gatsby?

"They're such beautiful shirts," she sobbed, her muffled in the folds. "It makes me sad because I've never seen such beautiful shirts." 

Daisy's reaction to the shirts demonstrates both her regret and her materialism. This moment happens during her first visit to Gatsby's mansion. By the time she reaches Gatsby's bedroom where the shirts are, she is overwhelmed to see the wealth of the man she left behind. It seems that Daisy cries because she realizes she made a mistake in choosing to marry Tom for money, not realizing that one day, Gatsby, the man she truly loved, would be rich.

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It is hard to understand exactly why Daisy is crying over Gatsby's display of his expensive tailor-made shirts. She realizes that he wanted to win her by becoming rich. She already came from a wealthy family. He voice "is full of money," as Gatsby says. She is married to a rich man, and she knows that wealth doesn't bring happiness, but you can't escape from wealth if you have it. And then by having it and making a conspicuous display of having it, you induce other people like Gatsby to try to emulate you. When he makes a rather vulgar display of his wealth with his shirts, he is doing what the old-money rich people do in a more subtle way. She sees that money can't really buy much but frivolous luxuries, and that she herself is one of those frivolous luxuries. This is part of the reason for her burst of tears, but there is a lot more behind them.

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dneshan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Well, one of the most important things that this quote tells the reader about Daisy is that she is extremely materialistic.  If the reader has not yet picked up on that fact, this quote is sure to give away that information.  Daisy says this the very first time she visits Gatsby's mansion.  She is overwhelmed by everything that she sees, and Gatsby's bedroom (which is where she is when she says this quote) is the last place that he takes her to on the tour that he gives Daisy of the mansion.  Although Tom and Daisy are wealthy, Gatsby is very over-the-top in terms of showing off what he has.  It seems that Daisy is just so overexcited about how rich Gatsby is that at this point she can no longer contain herself -- which is why she says what she say in that quote.

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sofsharick | Student

Daisy crying over Gatsby's shirts is an extremely important development in the novel. While it might seem kind of strange at first, it has a deeper meaning. It comes at a time where Gatsby and Daisy are having fun exploring his house. It's a playful scene, where he he begins throwing all of his shirts out of the closet, partially to be a bit flirtatious, but also partially to prove the point he has been waiting five years to tell her - that he is very wealthy, "just like she is." Gatsby, unfortunately, does not realize that his "new" money wealth is actually very different from Daisy's "old" money wealth. Daisy ends up crying into the shirts - not literally because she has never seen shirts that are as expensive and beautiful (because she most definitely has), but because she realizes the mistake that she has made in marrying Tom, and not Gatsby. She is regretting not being able to marry Gatsby, and having a marriage full of love as well as money.

user9190653 | Student

Daisy is sad because she realizes that all these five years she had to endure without Gatsby, was only because Gatsby wanted to get money and status because he thought that that's what Daisy wants but she really only ever wanted to be with him. She struggled through five depressive years for no real reason.

ddillert | Student

In this scene, her voice is "muffled in the thick folds". This describes her mixed feelings of being impressed and full of regrets at the same time.

The shirts are the juxtaposition of her realization between what currently is - her materialistic unhappy self - and what could have been - her romantic blessed self.

Currently, she is married to Tom, her cheating husband, whom she does not really love. They are only married because of his inherited wealth and the promised security and stability it would give her.

What could have been is a truly romantic relationship with once-poor-but-now-wealthy Gatsby. The shirts are being described as colorful and unique, which is what she thinks their life might have been.

Daisy chose money over true love and realizes in this moment that if she had listened to her heart, she would have ended up having both. That's why she finds them so beautiful but is at the same time sad.

ssandhu05 | Student

It says that she is more concerned about the value of the shirts then she is about Gatsby himself. Before that quote arrives in the book, Daisy is admiring the great wealth that Gatsby has acquired, more than she is spending quality time with him. This shows that when she says this quote, she isn't thinking about that man that loves her, but instead her love for wealth and her sadness of not having this much herself (even though she's already rich).

thepurplebooks | Student

Perhaps the shirts symbolise something, just like the pearls symbolised the wealth associated with Tom. 

In my opinion, it shows the rainbow that life could have been with Gatsby. It could have been "beautiful", with love and material possessions. Fitzgerald describes Gatsby flinging shirts out of the cupboard in a way that reminds me of a rainbow, expecially because of the fact that it's raining outside. The colors that Daisy's life could have been filled with flash before her eyes, making her aware of the fact that she missed out on something.


mishy | Student

“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.”

Not that she's materialistic, but it shows that she is aware of Gatsby's ardent love for her. She cannot possibly return this love and she springs at the opportunity to infuse some affection in the moment. However her emotions are of empathy and sympathy for Gatsby latent love.

eeenotes | Student

When was the last time you saw someone cry about someone's wardrobe?