Why Does Gatsby Love Daisy

In The Great Gatsby, why does Gatsby love Daisy? Is she the person he believes she is? Be specific- Give examples. 

Expert Answers
amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gatsby had always been impressionable, even as Gatz, an idealist, and one who was inclined to romanticize things to their fullest. That said, being so idealistic and with the tendency to romanticize things and people, Gatsby's love for Daisy began as typical young love usually does, but Gatsby increased that love with his own romanticizing. 

In addition to the way Gatsby aggrandized his love for Daisy, he also conflated ideas like wealth and success with her. When he first started meeting her, he was of course taken in by her beauty, but also by her wealth. 

He went to her house, at first with other officers from Camp Taylor, then alone. It amazed him—he had never been in such a beautiful house before. But what gave it an air of breathless intensity, was that Daisy lived there—it was as casual a thing to her as his tent out at camp was to him. There was a ripe mystery about it, a hint of bedrooms up-stairs more beautiful and cool than other bedrooms, of gay and radiant activities taking place through its corridors, and of romances that were not musty and laid away already in lavender but fresh and breathing and redolent of this year’s shining motor-cars and of dances whose flowers were scarcely withered. (Chapter 8)

At this early, impressionable age, Gatsby equates his love/infatuation for Daisy with the wealth of her surroundings. For Gatsby, the very idea of the American Dream is established here: a combination of beauty, love, money, and success. The conflation of all these ideas heightens his infatuation with Daisy. He falls in love with her because they are young and she's beautiful; but his love increases as he builds this idea of her in his mind that her beauty is inherently connected to her wealthy status. Thus, his quest to become rich (via bootlegging, gambling, etc.) was part of his process of living up to this conception he had of Daisy. In his mind, he legitimately loves her but he is in love with his own conception of her; and this conception is wrapped up with ideas of money, wealth, and success. So, in this respect she is not the person he believes her to be - only because in his mind, she is this impossibly perfect person frozen in the past. At the end of Chapter 5, Nick suggests that Gatsby might have realized that the real Daisy could not possibly live up to his ideal image of her. 

There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams—not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. 

So, one could argue that Gatsby knew or accepted that she was not who he conceived her to be: that she was not perfect. And one could further argue that Gatsby accepted this and Daisy in all her flaws. Remember that Gatsby's image of Daisy is linked to his ideas about wealth and success. So, to find out that Daisy is not perfect or that she is too concerned about money (not very romantic); this was not a deal breaker for Gatsby. In this argument, Daisy was exactly who Gatsby believed she was. Gatsby fully acknowledges that Daisy does desire money in her life when, in Chapter 7, he blatantly says that voice is "full of money." Nick adds, "It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it. . . . high in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl. . . " 

So, why did Gatsby love Daisy? Initially, he loved her because she was beautiful and "the first "nice" girl he had ever known." But that love increased as Gatsby linked his love for her with ideas about wealth and success. One could argue that because Gatsby mentally built a perfect image of Daisy in his mind, that the real Daisy is necessarily not who he conceived her to be. But in the end, Gatsby knew and/or accepted this. So, overall Daisy did turn out to be who Gatsby believed her to be; a beautiful girl who was, in his mind and in reality, linked to the money and wealth that comes with being among those in the upper class or high society. 

Wiggin42 | Student

Gatsby "loves" Daisy because he is stuck in the past when their relationship worked out. "Can't change the past? Why, of course you can!" That quote basically summarizes why Gatsby thinks he loves Daisy. He is so obsessed with the past and the passion they shared that he cannot let it go. 

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question