The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Why does Daisy sob into the thick folds of Gatsby's beautiful shirts?

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mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One could say Daisy Buchanan is the original "Material Girl," a woman that Gatsby describes as having a voice that "sounds like money." She is so impressed with Gatsby's custom-made English shirts that she is moved emotionally by this colorful display of his wealth:

They’re such beautiful shirts . . . It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before (Chapter 5).

Gatsby has shown Daisy around his palatial home with its garish rooms and Restoration salons opening to impress the woman who rejected him to marry the wealthy Tom Buchanan, a man who virtually purchased her with a pearl necklace worth a fortune. When Gatsby takes Daisy into his bedroom, Daisy sees his toilette set of pure dull gold. With delight, she picks up his brush and smooths her hair. Then, while Gatsby shows her his many English tailored and colorful shirts, Daisy sobs as he has found the way to her material heart. When she says "It makes me sad," perhaps Daisy regrets that Jay Gatsby's show of wealth has come too late because she rejected him when they were younger because he was not rich.

 

 

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octavia-7 | Student

In chapter 5, Gatsby takes Daisy and Nick on a glamorous tour of his house. He boasts about his imported gates and expensive décor. They proceed to his bedroom. In the room Gatsby, begins throwing expensive shirts towards Daisy in a playful manner as, she kneels on the bed. Daisy blissfully reaches out trying to grab each shirt. They're laughing and having so much fun. Suddenly, she stops and begins to cry hysterically. Gatsby runs to her aide with tenderness and worry.

Daisy has been unhappy and in a loveless marriage for years. In which her husband is a racist, misogynist, and a cheater. In that moment she's free and happy, however, reality sets in. Daisy realizes she's in a confusing love triangle. She loves Gatsby, but she loves Tom too. This realization sends a wave of emotions through her. As she knows her and Gatsby could never be together. Her heart is broken as she begins to cry. As she looks at Gatsby, his love is undeniable and she cannot bare to tell him the truth. So instead she tells him,

" I've never seen such beautiful shirts." (118-119)

She plays her emotions off as a silly moment of a women being emotional for no logical reason.