What does Jordan's story reveal about Daisy in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jordan's tale reveals Daisy's superficiality and her great desire for material objects and the high value that she places on wealth and social class. 

In Chapter Four, Jordan relates to Nick that in 1917 she was walking past Daisy's house and Daisy called out to her from her white roadster, where she was sitting with a lieutenant with whom Jordan was not acquainted. He was a man who was looking at Daisy "in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at sometime...because it looked romantic..." 
The next year, Jordan, who was busy playing in golf tournaments, heard a "wild rumor" that Daisy's mother caught her packing her bag one winter night to go to New York, where she planned to bid goodbye to this lieutenant. Her mother prevented this departure, and Daisy did not speak to her mother for some time. "After that she didn't play around with the soldiers any more...."

But the next year, Daisy had a debut, and in February she was "presumably engaged to a man from New Orleans." In June she married Tom Buchanan "with more pomp and circumstance than Louisville ever knew before." He came to Louisville for the wedding with a hundred people and rented an entire floor of the best hotel. The day before the wedding Tom gave Daisy a string of pearls worth three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. [This necklace would be worth approximately $4 million nowadays.]

Oddly enough, Jordan arrived thirty minutes before the bridal dinner, only to discover a drunken Daisy. Pulling the expensive pearl necklace out of a wastebasket, she tells Jordan to take the pearls back to

"...whomever they belong. Tell'em all Daisy's change' her mine. Say 'Daisy's change' her mine!"

Then she began to cry. But, after Jordan and her mother's maid locked the door and put her into a cold bath, it was only thirty minutes later and "the incident was forgotten." So, Daisy and Tom were married at five o'clock that evening and then started on a three months' trip to the South Seas. When they returned, Jordan remarks that she had never seen a woman "so mad about her husband." Whenever they were together, she says, Daisy looked at Tom with "unfathomable delight," and she adds that in Chicago the Buchanans moved with a "fast crowd" who were "young and rich and wild."

Clearly, Daisy became in love with being rich. She quickly sacrificed her real feelings--in only thirty minutes--for the ecstasy of wealth and all that accompanies it. She is a superficial woman who values materialism over true feelings.

[All quotes are from Chapter Four of The Great Gatsby]

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