Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby are at odds socially and spiritually.
A debutante of Louisville society, Daisy Fay Buchanan sells herself to Tom Buchanan for a string of pearls valued at $350,000. According to Jordan Baker, she and her husband moved with a "fast crowd,...you and rich and wild."
Daisy is frivolous, choosing to be "a fool" and live in a world of insincerity and illusions. The only reason that she entertains Gatsby's attempts to recapture the past is that doing so amuses her; she has no substance or seriousness about her. After she runs over Myrtle Wilson with Gatsby's automobile, she hides behind her wealth and conspires with her amoral husband Tom to implicate Gatsby, despite his complete devotion to her. As Nick Carraway tells Gatsby, Daisy is one of the
...careless people...[who] smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness of whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made....
Coming from humble beginnings as Jay Gatz, who returns from war, he emerges as Jay Gatsby, a man of mysterious background and a member of not the "old money," but the nouveau riche. He emerges as the romantic American hero "delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor."
Gatsby romanticizes Daisy, making her his grail. But, he is, indeed, the "great Gatsby" because he genuinely pursues his dreams and is loyal to his love and possessive of the "extraordinary great gift of hope." And, despite his being thought of as a criminal and a fraud by East Egg society, Gatsby emerges as much more moral than the Buchanans in their obsession with materialism.