Daisy is a very interesting character in my opinion. As a woman of her time period, Daisy is clearly on the high end of the social ladder; she is young, married, beautiful, poised, rich and of course—-Caucasian. This gives her the greatest amount of privilege a woman can hope for in the 1920s.
I feel like Mrs. Buchanan is judge unfairly by the readers of The Great Gatsby. You see, today we live in a time where women have almost the same rights as men (we’re still working on the right and law of equal pay but that’s beside the point), we (as I am undoubtedly a woman) have the right to do and say as we please (as long as it follows the law) and we marry who we wish. Women today are allowed to speak against their husbands and we are even allowed to —wait for it— have opinions. And the best part? We aren’t even expected to get married anymore— sure it’s a social norm but women who choose not to marry are still able to financially support themselves.
That being said, we all expect far too much from Daisy. We expect her to stand up to her abusive husband and to run off with Jay because we (as readers) that that is what she wants to do. But when we really look into it—Daisy does not have that choice. She doesn’t have the opportunity to stand up to Tom—or even Jay for that matter because in the 1920s women were submissive. We want to be mad at her for not going to Jay’s funeral but in reality, Tom probably didn’t let her. Even still, towards the end of the novel, Daisy didn’t seem too happy with Jay either, especially after they ran into Myrtle.
Gatsby, throughout the book, was extremely obsessive and controlling with Daisy— everything had to be exactly the way he’d dream it to be and as soon as Daisy showed any sign of hesitance, he faltered. He was asking too much of Daisy—not to mention he practically stalked her for years. A lot of people say that his love is so pure and they all wish to one day have someone love them as much as he loved Daisy but honestly— that is borderline creepy. I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone.
Okay—sorry, I had a tangent, anyways— back to Daisy.
A lot of people get mad at Daisy because she had an affair with Jay to begin with— let’s look at that for a second. It almost appears at first glance, that Daisy goes back to Jay 100% willingly because she loves him. That may be true— we do know that Daisy, at one point in her life, loved Gatsby and there is still left over feelings. But if we are also to get mad at her for cheating on her husband, I feel like we are in the wrong. Tom cheated on Daisy several times as we are told through Jordan’s story. He is controlling, manipulative, and less trustworthy than Brutus. While not everyone reads into it this way, I do (and please don’t attack me for this, it’s just a view that I have) I truly feel like part of Daisy’s drive for having an affair came from the fact that it was finally something she could do on her own by her choice. Maybe at first it felt like something she was in control of. Of course on the contrary, one can also say that Jay pressured her into that too.
Since this is getting long and I’m probably not making sense anymore, I’ll summarize my thoughts.
I think Daisy Buchanan is a very interesting character. While we are so eager to blame her for so many things, we also need to take the time to look into the true, underlying cause for her actions. The men around her constantly held her into place and she was not given enough freedom which was against her control. As much as I want to hate her for everything she does at the end of the novel, I simply cannot. I know that her actions are always being influenced by Tom or Jay and instead I sympathize with her because she is never her own person.