Why does Daisy compare Nick to a rose, and what is the significance of this statement?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Without doubt, Daisy Buchanan is affected and uses phrases that are exaggerated for the situation. She enters the narrative with charm, beauty, and effusive delight. One of her favorite ways of flattering people is to call them "a rose." In Chapter One, for example, she personifies what Nick describes as the "young breath-giving air" of West Egg. 

When Nick arrives at the Buchanans' home, the supercilious Tom shows Nick his "nice place here," sweeping his arm at a sunken Italian garden and a "half-acre of pungent roses." Then they walk through a hallway "into a bright rosy-colored space..." and across rose rugs. Daisy's voice compels people to listen to it as it charms them. After the butler tells Tom he has a phone call (which the reader later learns is from his mistress), the effusive Daisy tells Nick how delighted she is to have him for dinner:

"I love to see you at my table, Nick. You remind me of a --of a rose, an absolute rose. Doesn't he?" She turned to Miss Baker for confirmation. "An absolute rose."

Although Nick realizes that Daisy is affected in her speech, he narrates,

She was only extemporizing but a stirring warmth flowed from her as if her heart was trying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words.

Daisy becomes part of the ambiance of the room, the voice of the breeze that blows through the rosy room, the scent of wealth and delight and the promise of romance. Daisy herself is a romantic illusion, emotionally dishonest and shallow. There is no "stirring warmth"-- only "thrilling words" as Daisy extemporizes.

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