Often considered the great American novel, and widely taught in high school classrooms, The Great Gatsby is a story about a few very wealthy and privileged Americans living in New York on the mythical East Egg and West Egg. East Egg is the home of the old wealth of Tom ...
Often considered the great American novel, and widely taught in high school classrooms, The Great Gatsby is a story about a few very wealthy and privileged Americans living in New York on the mythical East Egg and West Egg. East Egg is the home of the old wealth of Tom and Daisy Buchanan who have grown up rich. West Egg houses the "nouveau riche" as represented by Jay Gatsby, who has gained his fortune through bootlegging and other illegal activities.
Daisy Buchanan may be one of the most self-centered characters in all of American literature, and her treatment of her two-year old daughter Pammy is ample evidence of the woman's narcissism. Pammy is mentioned twice in the novel. In chapter one Daisy admits that she knows little of the girl who is presumably raised mainly by her nurse, not unlike many wealthy girls throughout history (think of Juliet). Daisy says, "I suppose she talks, and-eats, and everything" when Nick Caraway, the narrator of the novel, asks after the little girl.
In talking about the child Daisy goes on to explain her attitude toward life. She says, "'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool-that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." She believes that women can essentially get nowhere without beauty and that it's best for a woman to simply smile and look good.
In chapter seven we actually meet Pammy. She is portrayed as basically shy, but is already exhibiting the superficial characteristics her mother exemplifies, concerned with her dress and what "Aunt Jordan" is wearing. The little girl makes a brief appearance and then is whisked off by the nurse. Daisy simply wants to show off the little girl to Nick and Gatsby.
The fact that Daisy basically ignores the child is discussed in an interesting article in the Village Voice (see link below) about the latest filming of the novel by Baz Luhrmann. Amanda Lewis argues that the reason Daisy pays little attention to Pammy is because, as Lewis puts it, "Pammy...represents all of Daisy's obligations to Tom and the years they've spent building a life together." Because Tom is cheating on her and they seem to have a basically loveless marriage she resents the little girl and what she symbolizes.