Why does Daisy cry about the shirts?

Daisy cries over Gatsby's shirts because the expensive shirts reveal the extent of Gatsby's wealth, leading her to realize that she made a mistake by choosing to marry Tom.

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In chapter 5, Gatsby reunites with Daisy at Nick Carraway 's home and proceeds to take her on a tour of his magnificent mansion next door. It has been five long years since Gatsby has seen Daisy, and he is hoping to impress her with his palatial estate and...

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In chapter 5, Gatsby reunites with Daisy at Nick Carraway's home and proceeds to take her on a tour of his magnificent mansion next door. It has been five long years since Gatsby has seen Daisy, and he is hoping to impress her with his palatial estate and expensive material objects. On the tour, Gatsby walks Daisy through "Marie Antoinette music-rooms and Restoration salons" and shows off his "Merton College Library" before taking her upstairs to his room.

Inside Gatsby's room, he opens two large cabinets full of suits, dressing gowns, ties, and shirts. Gatsby then tells Daisy that he has a man in England who sends him collections of new shirts every season and begins casually tossing dozens of shirts from his closet into a heap upon the floor.

As the expensive shirts fall to the floor in a large pile, Daisy bends her head into the shirts and begins to cry:

"They're such beautiful shirts," she sobbed, her muffled in the folds. "It makes me sad because I've never seen such beautiful shirts."

Daisy's dramatic reaction to the shirts can be interpreted in several different ways. One could argue that Daisy's tears highlight her superficiality and affinity for material objects—in other words, because she values money and material goods above all else, Gatsby's impressive display of wealth provokes a strong reaction in her. Ultimately, though, Daisy's tears likely reflect her realization that she has made a terrible mistake in choosing Tom over Gatsby.

After Gatsby went away to war, Daisy married Tom, a man who could offer her wealth, status, and privilege. Despite her choice, it seems Daisy had much stronger feelings for Gatsby—Jordan even recalls her sobbing over a letter from Gatsby on the eve of her wedding. From Nick's narration, we know Daisy's marriage to Tom is not a happy one and that he openly cheats on her with his mistress. In touring Gatsby's grand house and seeing the evidence of his financial success, Daisy essentially sees what could have been, had she waited for Gatsby after the war. It seems likely, therefore, that her reaction to the shirts is less about the shirts themselves than an expression of her regret in marrying the wrong man.

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