In The Great Gatsby, what is the symbol of Daisy's marriage in Chapter VII where Gatsby shows surprise?

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In this chapter, we see Daisy engaging with her little girl, whom she calls "precious." Obviously, the little girl is a physical symbol of Daisy's marriage, as she is the product of it. The fact that she exists at all serves as confirmation that Daisy and Tom Buchanan have married, engaged in conjugal relations, and produced offspring which shares both their genes in combination. Nick states that Gatsby continues to look at the little girl in surprise as Daisy interacts with her. He says that it is as if Gatsby had never before really believed in her existence. He probably does not mean this literally—Gatsby has been told, presumably, that Daisy and Tom have a little girl. However, never having actually met her, it seems strange to him to remember that Daisy is actually not only a wife, but a mother. It forces him to see her in a light in which he does not want to see her, both because of his own relationship with her and also because Daisy doesn't really seem like a mother.

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The visible symbol of Daisy's marriage to Tom is their daughter Pammy. At the Buchanans' home, Gatsby and Nick were sitting with Daisy and Jordan while Tom was momentarily out of the room. A nurse (nanny) brought the little girl into the room. Daisy greeted her daughter effusively:

"Bles-sed pre-cious," she crooned, holding out her arms. "Come to your own mother that loves you."

The little girl (Pammy) ran to her mother and buried her face in Daisy's dress. When Daisy told her daughter to stand up and say hello, Nick and Gatsby took turns shaking her little hand. Nick noticed Gatsby's reaction:

Afterward he kept looking at the child with surprise. I don't think he had ever really believed in its existence before.

Gatsby was amazed to see Pammy standing before him, flesh-and-blood proof that Daisy's relationship with Tom had created a child. His dream was to wipe out the previous five years and repeat the past with Daisy, and her daughter's presence did not fit into his plan. He did not know how to deal with the reality of the little girl.

 

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