How is Daisy affected by materialism in The Great Gatsby?

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In The Great Gatsby, Daisy is affected by materialism in that it influences her choice in men and likely plays a role in her regret of not marrying Gatsby. When Gatsby first met Daisy, he misled her into believing that he came from "the same stratum as herself," which likely influenced her relationship with him. When Daisy sees Gatsby's wealth later, she cries "stormily," suggesting that she sees that she could have married Gatsby and still had a life of luxury.

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Materialism guides Daisy's life decisions. Gatsby values her in large part because she represents the careless security of a young woman who has always had her every material need in life satisfied. When Gatsby meets Daisy in 1917, she lives with her parents in a fine white house, wears beautiful white clothes, and drives her own white car. She is a sharp contrast to Gatsby himself, who has felt humiliated by his poor, humble midwestern roots. She represents everything he has always longed for, which is to feel materially secure and at ease.

Yet, as the novel shows, Daisy is damaged by the decisions she has been goaded into by her family to secure a wealthy life for herself. Early on in the novel, Nick has dinner at Tom and Daisy's brick colonial mansion but finds out that Daisy is unhappy despite all her wealth. Tom might be one of the wealthiest men in the country, but he is a bullying man who is cheating on her by having an affair with another woman. Daisy shows how materialism has affected her when

she laugh[s] with thrilling scorn. "Sophisticated—God, I'm sophisticated!"

This shows bitterness and unhappiness with money, but Nick is also uneasily aware that she somehow also feels superior because of her wealth, looking at him after the "sophisticated" statement with

an absolute smirk on her lovely face, as if she had asserted her membership in a rather distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belonged.

Because of her choices and her materialism, she ends up careless, like Tom:

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

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When Gatsby shows Daisy and Nick around his home, he takes her into his bedroom to open the closet doors and reveal the expensive clothing that he has. Gatsby tells them that he has a man in England who buys his clothes, and he begins tossing shirts towards them. They were

shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel.

In other words, the shirts are expensive and meant to show Daisy how easily Gatsby can spend what was probably a small fortune on purchasing clothes that have been hand-selected for him by his “man in England.” While Gatsby is heaping the pile of shirts at them,

Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.

Her emotions probably reflect several things that she is feeling simultaneously. First, the fact that Gatsby can afford the grand house and lavish parties and expensive wardrobe make her realize that she could have married Gatsby instead of Tom after all and had everything that Gatsby could offer her. Second, she also probably feels the intensity of Gatsby’s love or desire for her while, by comparison, Tom seems to have tired of Daisy and is having an affair with Myrtle.

However, Daisy did not wait for Gatsby. She chose Tom over Gatsby likely for several reasons, one being the stability a quicker marriage to Tom would allow her. But among these reasons is that she wanted the life and material things that Tom could give her. Tom offered her the luxurious upper-class life she was used to and looked forward to:

The day before the wedding he gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

Much earlier than this, when Gatsby recalls the period when he and Daisy first met during his time as a soldier stationed near her parents’ home, he discloses that he misled Daisy into believing “that he was a person from much the same strata as herself—that he was fully able to take care of her.” Had she known differently, Daisy likely would have viewed Gatsby differently, which again reveals her materialism and the importance she places on riches and social status. After she left Gatsby one night to return to her parents’ home, Nick says,

She vanished into her rich house, into her rich, full life, leaving Gatsby—nothing.

The word rich is repeated twice to show the importance of the material richness both to Gatsby and to Daisy. Daisy needs the materialistic conveniences of a rich life to make her life happy, and that, coupled with her urgency to be married and settle down, led to her marriage to Tom.

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Daisy Buchanan, from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, is a very materialistic woman. Not only does she marry Tom Buchanan, a wealthy man, she believes that money makes everything better. Her ideologies about wealth, and the fact that she pays dearly for her wealth and fails to care, shows her obsession with financial stability. In a sense, regardless of how badly Tom treats her, she fails to care. Instead, she holds tightly to the idea that money is the cure-all for everything.

Daisy is not humble about her wealth. Many times, her dialogue points out that she is consumed with money.

"I've been everywhere and done everything." While many would take this as positive, and highlighting the fact she has money, Daisey's "confession is deeper than materialistic. She has faced a lot. Granted, it was her choice to marry Tom, but the money he possesses weighs far more important than the abusive life she lives. (Quote taken from chapter one.)

"It makes me sad because I've never seen such--such beautiful shirts before." This quote proves Daisy's materialism. It is not the abuse she sees which makes her sad. Instead, a simple shirt makes her sad. The beauty of the shirt should not impact her the way it does. Again, Daisy brings up the fact that she had seen and done everything (prior to this quote). The idea that she had not seen a specific shirt before illuminates her materialistic nature. (Quote taken from chapter five.)

Essentially, Daisy is only happy when she has "things." Her love is abusive, she is not with the man she truly loves, and her life is falling around her. Unfortunately, Daisy's materialism is far more important than any of this. Her materialism proves that she is ignoring the things which really matter.

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How is Daisy affected by materialism in the novel The Great Gatsby?

Daisy is attracted to wealth and material objects throughout the novel and makes significant life decisions based on her future financial security. Despite the fact that she does not love Tom Buchanan, Daisy marries him because he comes from a wealthy family and is rich. Instead of marrying someone she loves, Daisy's decision is based on her financial security. Jordan Baker even tells Nick that when Daisy got drunk, she revealed her true feelings about Tom and said that Daisy changed her mind about marrying him. When Daisy takes a tour through Gatsby's home, she is in awe of his material wealth. Daisy even cries when she sees Gatsby's collection of expensive shirts. Daisy risks ruining her marriage to Tom when she decides to have an affair with Jay Gatsby because she realizes that he is also wealthy. Standing outside of her home, Gatsby comments to Nick, "Her voice is full of money" (128). Even Gatsby realizes Daisy is infatuated with money. At the end of the novel, Daisy decides to remain unhappily married to Tom after finding out Gatsby acquired his fortune by bootlegging. Again, Daisy does not follow her heart but chooses financial security over love. 

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How is Jay Gatsby affected by materialism in The Great Gatsby?

Jay Gatsby was enchanted by the American Dream and amassing wealth in order to win Daisy Buchanan's heart after their brief romance back in Kentucky. Jay Gatsby hailed from North Dakota and grew up in a poor farming family. Upon courting Daisy Fay as a young military officer, Gatsby realized that he could never marry her because of his lower social status. After meeting Dan Cody and returning to the United States after WWI, Jay Gatsby became business partners with the shady Meyer Wolfsheim and entered the criminal underworld. Gatsby developed into a notorious bootlegger and amassed a fortune working alongside Meyer, which allowed him to purchase a magnificent mansion in West Egg.

While Jay Gatsby's intentions were pure, he compromised his morals, which were corrupted by wealth and materialism. Gatsby's desire to attain the American Dream coincided with his wish to marry Daisy, who was the epitome of wealth and beauty. Gatsby was willing to live a lie, engage in criminal activity, and risk his freedom in order to amass a fortune and attain the American Dream. In doing so, Gatsby surrounded himself by unscrupulous, shallow people and chased the materialistic Daisy Buchanan in vain. Gatsby's intentions remained pure until his death, and he never gave up hope in marrying Daisy. However, Nick described the toxic atmosphere that destroyed his friend by saying,

Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and shortwinded elations of men. (Fitzgerald, 4)

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How is Jay Gatsby affected by materialism in The Great Gatsby?

Jay Gatsby was born poor and so had no social status to show off. Daisy, the woman he loves, was born wealthy, and so their social classes did not mingle very much; Gatsby aspired to win Daisy through his status and so had to work hard to create his own wealth. Despite this, she marries someone else, and Gatsby becomes obsessed with the idea that he can win her away with little more than his wealth and new social status in the community.

"Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!"

He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.

"I'm going to fix everything just the way it was before," he said, nodding determinedly. "She'll see."
(Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, mrbye.com)

In Gatsby's eyes, the barrier between himself and Daisy is one of status and wealth, not of character or personality. He believes that she will come to love him again as he is accepted by her peers, and so he throws large parties and ingratiates himself with the Old Money society of the East Egg. However, since Daisy already has money and is married to Tom, another wealthy man, she is not as easily swayed by Gatsby's attentions. He finally fails because he was focused too much on buying Daisy's love, instead of earning it; Gatsby is too focused on becoming the sort of wealthy man Daisy attracts rather than becoming the character of man to whom Daisy is attracted.

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Please give a quote from The Great Gatsby that demonstrates the materialism of Daisy.

It is clear from the text that one of the attributes that is immediately associated with the character of Daisy is wealth and materialism. She is automatically linked to riches and a manner of life that diverges from the kind of squalour that Myrtle is forced to endure in the Ashes. At each stage of the novel, she is associated with the kind of wealth and standard of living that many Americans at that time could only dream of. Whether it is her response to the many English shirts that Gatsby has when she is given a tour around his mansion or her description and the kind of clothes she wears, it is clear that wealth and its conspicuous consumption is tremendously important to her. Indeed, when the reader finds out about the background story of Gatsby and Daisy, it was a crucial factor in her decision to marry Tom Buchanan:

In June she married Tom Buchanan of Chicago, with more pomp and circumstance than Louisville ever knew before. He came down with a hundred people in four private cars, and hired a whole floor of the Seelbach Hotel, and the day before the wedding he gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

One of the factors that caused her to marry Tom was the wealth he was able to offer, and this was something that Gatsby at that stage in his life was unable to give. The emphasis that is placed on the "whole floor" of the prestigious hotel and the way that the value of the string of pearls is calculated, and its great worth, is something that indicates beyond a doubt that Daisy's choice of husband was based on wealth and materialism rather than any other motive.

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