What effect does Daisy seem to have on Nick? 

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mrs-tolley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Daisy charms Nick. He enjoys her company and finds her pleasant to be around.

When Daisy is first introduced, on pages 10-11, Fitzgerald leads up to her introduction with a vivid description of the room Daisy and Jordan are in: the windows are open and long white curtains billow into the room. Fitzgerald uses lots of metaphors and similes in this description, comparing the ceiling to a frosted wedding cake, the carpet to wine, and the billowing curtains to flags. This makes the room seem very sumptuous and creates a rich, inviting atmosphere before the girls are even mentioned.

Daisy and Jordan lie on an enormous sofa, both wearing white dresses. Now Fitzgerald nearly makes Daisy and Jordan seem like angels: on the couch, "...two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house." From this, it seems like the first moment Nick sees Daisy he has the impression she is an angel, floating like a balloon, able to fly around inside the house.

The first thing Daisy does is try to get up to greet Nick, but fall back onto the couch and laugh. The laugh charms Nick and draws him into the room: "I laughed too and came forward into the room." So Daisy doesn't need to do anything to draw Nick to her physically; her laughter alone is enough to bring him to her. Because of the earlier sea imagery, this compares Daisy to a siren, a deadly figure from Greek mythology whose singing hypnotizes sailors and causes them to crash their ships on her rocks in an attempt to get close to her. Daisy seems to have a similar effect on Gatsby, but not on Nick, who is charmed and amused by her, but not hypnotized.

The first thing Daisy says in the novel is a hyperbole: "‘I’m p-paralyzed with happiness.’" This exaggeration charms Nick further. Daisy then holds Nick's hand and looks at him with her complete attention, making him feel special: "...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." Nick feels more and more drawn towards Daisy throughout this scene.

At last, he explains that this charm is a quality Daisy has. She purposefully talks in a low murmur to make people lean closer to her. Nick considers this statement an unnecessary criticism of Daisy and finds her charming regardless of whether she behaves that way on purpose. "(I’ve heard it said that Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lean toward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming.)" This parenthetical comment tells the reader that although some people consider Daisy fake or superficial, Nick still finds her charming. Remember, Nick withholds judgement on others, so he would not criticize Daisy and would just take her at face value, which in this scene is as a lovely, charming angel.

You can learn more about Daisy and other characters from The Great Gatsby on eNotes's study guide by clicking here.

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The Great Gatsby

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