What significant comparisons are made between Daisy and Jordan in chapter 1 of The Great Gatsby?

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The description of the two girls is conveyed by the narrator, Nick Carraway, who is Daisy's cousin. He was invited to spend the evening at the Carraway house in East Egg.

Nick's descriptions of Daisy and Jordan sketches a picture of similarity in the two. When he first...

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The description of the two girls is conveyed by the narrator, Nick Carraway, who is Daisy's cousin. He was invited to spend the evening at the Carraway house in East Egg.

Nick's descriptions of Daisy and Jordan sketches a picture of similarity in the two. When he first sees them they are languidly lazing on a huge couch that looked like a balloon with the two buoyed upon it. The image is almost as one out of a children's storybook, something like a fairytale. Both girls are dressed 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.

This image emphasises the almost surreal look painted by the two girls. It suggests a lightness, both literally and metaphorically, about them - they are like two fairies. It is ironic that Nick uses these descriptors since white also suggests innocence and purity, which was most definitely lacking in both girls, as one discovers later in the novel.

Nick's attention is initially focused on Jordan Baker, whom he describes as 'the younger of the two.' He did not know her and, in a slightly mocking tone, suggests that she has a somewhat snobbish air about her

'with her chin raised a little, as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall.' 

She came across as so superior that he felt he owed her an apology for disturbing them. She acted as if she hardly noticed him, probably to create an affectatious air of mystery around her and gave him an almost imperceptible nod. Daisy, on the other hand, acknowledged him better and made an attempt to rise, giving a silly little laugh which Nick found charming. Daisy made an attempt to appear 'conscientious', a quality she later in the novel proves to lack. 

Jordan Baker, in her slight acknowledgement of him, lost a bit of her composure and instantly tried to regain it by lifting her chin. Nick was impressed by the air of independence she projected. He almost apologised again. Nick describes Daisy's voice as alluring and sees her face as pretty but sad, although both her eyes and lips are bright. There was an exciting lilt to her voice which men would find attractive. In slight contrast, he sees Ms Baker's face as 'wan, charming and discontented.'

It is quite evident that Daisy's 'sad' and Jordan's 'discontented' face suggest a smidgeon of unhappiness, which both girls seem to want to mask. Their language is quite frivolous and generally inane. Nick does not provide a full physical description of Daisy but he seems to like what Jordan has to offer and enjoyed looking at her.

She was a slender, small-breasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet.

As already mentioned, Daisy and Jordan's conversation is littered with unimportant references and inane little remarks and suggestions. They, for instance, tell a story about 'the butler's nose' which Nick jokingly suggests he had travelled all the way to hear. Even Daisy's comparison of Nick to a rose suggests a forced sentimentality and romanticism which does not impress him at all. 

The two women are clearly bored and seem to pass the time just lazing about, drinking cocktails and expensive liquor and being served food at appropriate times. They are obviously careless and generally disinterested in more important affairs.

The one significant event which does seemingly affect both girls is when Tom is summoned for a telephone call. This little interlude dramatically changed the atmosphere and showed Jordan up as something of a gossip. She informed Nick that Tom was having an affair with a woman in New York. When the phone rang later, it caused an even greater disturbance. 

Nick noticed that Jordan Baker had been able to master 'a certain hardy skepticism' and Daisy later confided in him about the birth of her daughter and the fact that Tom had not been present. It is quite evident that both women had to find ways to deal with the little discomforts in their veritably fairy tale lives. Jordan adopted a somewhat supercilious air and a skeptical attitude whilst Daisy, in moments of distress, sought compassion by creating guilt in others as she does when she tells Nick about not attending her wedding.

The descriptions of the two women are used to convey the shallowness and essential emptiness of lives of privilege. Although Jordan, unlike, Daisy actually has a profession, she has adopted the values and practices of the idle rich.     

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