Why does Daisy marry Tom in The Great Gatsby? Connect this to her "paralysis."

Expert Answers
favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Daisy married Tom, it seems, because it was too difficult for her to remain loyal to Gatsby with him so far away in the war and the pressures of life at home. Nick reports Gatsby's story that

There was a quality of nervous despair in Daisy's letters. She didn't see why he couldn't come. She was feeling the pressure of the world outside, and she wanted to see him and feel his presence beside her and be reassured that she was doing the right thing after all.

Daisy was young and impatient, and she began to move around in society again, with Gatsby still gone, and soon, she was keeping dates with half a dozen different men. She sort of got sucked back into that "artificial" world and could not hold her own against it. Moreover,

She wanted her life shaped now, immediately—and the decision must be made by some force—of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality—that was close at hand.

In other words, it sounds as though she needed the decision to be made. With Gatsby far away and impossible to marry now, Daisy turned to look for something else, someone else, that can order her life for her. Tom provided a certain kind of practicality—it would be difficult to find someone more financially stable—and so choosing him gets the hard decision made.

When we see her, later, struggling with what to do during the confrontation between Gatsby and Tom, she seems to be dealing with the same issue. She had been sure of Gatsby, it seems, but now Tom is presenting information that makes her question that decision and upsets her sense of security (namely, that Gatsby is a criminal). Now, again, needing something stable to direct her, she seems to retreat to the familiarity of Tom and their lavish life.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Daisy married Tom Buchanan because he was rich and available and that was what beautiful debutantes did in Louisville in 1919.

She had been popular with the boys and men all her life. She had possibly even been infatuated and thought she was in love with Jay Gatsby, one of the army officers who came calling to her parents' house. But her parents had forbidden her to stay in contact with him, and so, after a brief period of time away from the social whirl, she returned to the society she thrived in.

After having been married to Tom for awhile, Daisy comes to understand the consequences of her marriage. She loves having access to Tom's money and the lifestyle it makes possible, but she is not happy in the marriage and sees no way out of her situation. Divorce was not an option in her position and at that time and place. She was trapped, paralyzed in the situation in which she found herself. The depth of her feelings were revealed as she told Nick about the birth of her child.

Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. 'All right,' I said, '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.'

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question