In the novel The Great Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan was faced with an enormous decision. She had to choose between Tom; her husband and Jay Gatsby; her lover. Gatsby seemed to be the ideal man of his time. Fabulously wealthy, handsome, charismatic and intriguing, he seemed to be able to offer everything a woman could want. All he wanted in return was Daisys complete unconditional love. Tom, on the other hand could offer Daisy money, security and freedom. Ultimately Daisy chose the latter. The roaring 20s was an era of total decadence. The first World War had ended and industry was booming.
People were becoming millionaires overnight. There seemed to be no end in sight to the prosperity. Although people were becoming rich quickly, old money provided more privilege than new money. Tom Buchanan came from old money. He was a Westerner who was renowned in college for both his football skills and his supremely decadent lifestyle. The narrator states His family were enormously wealthy, even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach-but now hed left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance, he brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest.
Daisy chose to marry Tom because of his wealth and power. Fitzgerald writes There was a wholesome bulkiness about his person and his position and Daisy was flattered. He could offer Daisy prestige in addition to all the old money one could dream of. Gatsby had made his money by illegal means. He was a nobody from nowhere and although he was rich beyond belief, he was one of the hundreds of nouveau riche who lacked the cache of the old money set. Although Gatsby could offer Daisy romance, love, excitement and intrigue, her need for security freedom and money made her eventually choose Tom.
In terms of security, Tom could offer much more than Gatsby. Toms old money could offer Daisy prestige and social position whereas Gatsbys money was quickly and somewhat questionably earned. Everyone including Daisy realized that it could be just as quickly lost. Tom states I found out what your drug-stores were. He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter . Tom also said That drug-store business was just small change but youve got something on now that Walters afraid to tell me about.
This proves that Gatsbys money was achieved through corrupt means and his lack of position would leave him vulnerable to prosecution if he were to be caught. On the other hand, Daisy and Toms elite position in society enabled them to get away with murder. They were able to move away and start anew after hitting Myrtle in the car. Due to the wealth and power of Tom and Daisy, they were able to live with a substantial amount of freedom. They were able to tear apart the lives of people and move on without as much as a backward glance.
Nicks judgment of them was 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. Daisys selection of Tom over Gatsby afforded a somewhat unorthodox freedom. Tom had many mistresses but always returned to Daisy. He said Once in a while I go off and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time. Daisy also loved the luxury of having both a husband and a lover but Gatsby would not allow it.
He wanted all of her and she could not give that to him. She said Oh, you want too much. I love you now- isnt that enough. Although Gatsby could have offered Daisy a variety of things such as romance, love and excitement, she ultimately chose Tom because of her selfishness. She grew up with old money, security and freedom and was not willing to give it all up for love. I believe that the author chose the name Daisy because Daisy in Latin means the days eye or the sun and everything revolves around the sun. Daisy does not care about anyone else and she believes that everything revolves around her!