Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
Daisy Fay Buchanan
Daisy is an attractive, wealthy, and shallow young lady who always dresses in flimsy white dresses, a symbol of her levity and lack of character. Both Nick and Gatsby notice her luscious voice, which seems to jingle with a sound of wealth. Indeed, Daisy is wealthy, coming from a prominent family in Louisville. Additionally, she has married the very wealthy Tom Buchanan. In spite of the wealth, Daisy is a bored and careless woman. She is incapable of entertaining herself and wonders what she will do with her life for the next thirty years. Although she is the mother of a young daughter, she is incapable of any depth of maternal feelings. She treats Pammy as if she were a toy or a plaything.
Daisy had a fling with Gatsby when he was stationed in the army in Louisville, her hometown, and fancied that she loved him. When Gatsby was sent to Europe to fight in the war, she waited for him to return for a short while. Soon bored and impatient, she began to date other men of her same social class. She met and fell in love with the wealthy Tom Buchanan, whom she married. The night before her wedding she tells Jordan Baker, her good friend, that she is not certain she is doing the right thing in marrying Tom; the crying woman holds a crumpled letter from Gatsby in her hand.
The wedding takes place as scheduled. For their honeymoon, Tom and Daisy drift through Europe for a period of time. Then the young couple moved to East Egg, where they led a meaningless and shallow existence. When Daisy meets Gatsby again at Nick's house, she has an affair with him; it is a relief from her boredom. However, Daisy will never leave Tom for Gatsby; she enjoys the wealth and social prominence that her marriage brings. Throughout the novel, Daisy is the object of Gatsby's dream; even in the end, he does not realize that she is not worthy of his adoration.Tom Buchanan
Tom is Daisy's wealthy husband whom Nick has known casually at Yale. He is a cruel, hard man and the living personification of the shallowness and carelessness of the very rich. He plays with cars and race horses, has sordid affairs, and treats Daisy shabbily. During the book, Tom's mistress is Myrtle Wilson. He keeps an apartment for her in the city and often meets her there. Their encounters are not always pleasant. On the night of the party that Nick attends, Tom grows angry with Myrtle for saying Daisy's name; as a result, he hits Myrtle, breaking her nose. In addition to his low standards, Tom can obviously be a very violent person. The violence almost emerges again when he confronts Gatsby about Daisy in the suite at the Plaza Hotel. The men argue, and even though Gatsby forces Daisy to say she has never loved Tom, she soon recants. She does love Tom for his wealth and will always remain with him, for he offers her security and the life style to which she is accustomed.
Myrtle is the gaudy and vulgar mistress of Tom Buchanan and the wife of George Wilson. Throughout the book, she is characterized as having a great sense of vitality. It is this trait that attracted Tom to the ostentatious and unattractive woman. Tom keeps an apartment for her in the city, which is the scene of a rather wild party during the book. When George realizes she is having an affair, he locks her in her room and plans to move her out West. She, however, is killed in a car accident by a hit-and-run driver, who is Daisy Buchanan.