The thing about Daisy Buchanan is that she is an angel, a gift to readers everywhere, the light of my life and the joy of my existence. A fictional female 1920s Kumail Nanjiani in terms of the sheer happiness she provides me.
I’ve known that Daisy effin’ rocks since I first read this book. (Fun fact: my first read of this took place in the back of the family minivan when I was 13, on a roadtrip to, like, Disney World or something. While thoughts of princesses and mouse-shaped ice cream bars danced in my siblings’ heads, I was reading about moral corruption in the Jazz Age.) (All because I saw online that if a college interviewer asks what your favorite book is, you should say The Great Gatsby. And for some goddamn reason, I was like, Yeah, it’s definitely urgent that I, an eighth grade student, be prepared to have a college interview at any moment.) (I only ever had to do one college interview anyway, because only one was required and of COURSE I didn’t opt into the non-mandatory ones because CANYOUIMAGINE. Guess what? The interviewer did ask me what my favorite book was. Guess what I didn’t say?The Great f*ckin’ Gatsby! I panicked and, I think, said All the Light We Cannot See, because it was the first non-embarrassing book that came to mind. My life is just one mistake after another.)
Anyway. I loved Daisy then. I loved her two years later, when my English class read it and it was VERY clear that I was “““supposed””” to not like her, and, like, fawn over Gatsby’s childish ass instead. Which, no. Picture this: fifteen-year-old me, who has Just Decided she’s going to be cool now (a process which involved wearing 15 layers of mascara and no other makeup – neither an exaggeration nor a good look) in a room of twenty fifteen-year-olds, including cool ones, all VEHEMENTLY AGREEING ON SOMETHING.
But I still stood up for Daisy. Because I have PRIORITIES.
My senior year of high school, my morals and soul and ability to empathize were challenged by six students and a teacher in AP Lit. But I won the award for being the best English student in my graduating class, so honestly I think that’s an indication that I also won that argument.
And now here I am today, prepared to make the same argument to you all.
But let’s get into this. Here is why Daisy is not only innocent to the VILLAINOUS charges that have been placed upon her, but also the best character in this book and an absolute angel/joy/gift from the heavens. (Does that mean F. Scott Fitzgerald is God?)
Also, this has literally all of the spoilers. And is long. But THOROUGH AND WORTH IT.
What was she SUPPOSED to do?
So put yaself in Daisy’s shoes, yeah? Let’s take it allllll the way back. You’re a teenage girl who is the hottest sh*t in all of Louisville. (This is a big deal, apparently.) You have SIX DATES A DAY! The phone never stops ringing!!! You have nothing but options!!
Kidding, kidding. You only have one option, really, and that’s marrying a rich guy. Don’t we love historical gender expectations? I know I do!
So then one day, this guy who’s fiiiiine as hell shows up. And you guys start hanging out all the time, and he’s so charming and hot and you guys get along like a house on fire. You have a really great kiss. The guy’s a captain in the army, and he implies he’s supes well off financially. It’s perfect. It’s the best case scenario for you.
(This guy’s Jay Gatsby, by the way. In case I haven’t made that clear.)
Then the guy has to go off to war. It sucks, sucks, sucks. You two write letters back and forth, but all the while your family is pressuring you. Society is pressuring you. Your friends are making backhanded comments about how you’re still unmarried.
The war ends. Sweet relief! Jay’s coming home!
Except no. He’s at Oxford, for some reason? And he tells you he can’t come home? And your letters get sadder and sadder, because you’re out of time. The war ended, and you have nothing to tell your parents.
So those six dates a day start back up.
And then this guy pops up in town. He’s reallyyyy rich. And buff. And a real society man. And he’s not from Louisville – he’s a way out. You can see the world with him. Best of all, he’s obsessed with you.
(This guy is Tom Buchanan.)
So what do you do? You can’t do anything. You have to marry him.
And when you get a letter from Jay “Too Little Too Late” Gatsby, you scream and cry and try to stop the wedding, but there’s nothing you can do. Ya hafta marry Tom “Seems Okay” Buchanan.
Two: Now That’s What I Call “Whoops”
The OTHER fun thing you get to do, in this life as Daisy Buchanan, is have children whether you want them or not.
For awhile you don’t mind Tom. In fact, you really love him for a bit. He does nice stuff like carry you so your shoes don’t touch the ground, and the honeymoon’s great, etc etc. So even though you don’t have one mother-effin’ ounce of an option in whether you want kids or not, when ya get pregnant, you think maybe it won’t be that bad.
And then Tom turns out to suuuuuck. You have to leave these places you love, where everyone is full-on obsessed with you, and you have friends and family and as close to a life as you can get, you have to leave because Tom is f*cking everything with girl parts and a ditzy 1920s accent.
BUT NOW YOU HAVE A DAUGHTER. AND YOU LOVE HER SO MUCH. AND YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WILL BE FOR HER, BECAUSE SHE’S GOING TO HAVE THE SAME LIFE AS YOU. And all you can hope is that she’ll be a beautiful fool, like Tom’s girls, so she’ll be silly enough to be satisfied with life’s inability to give her much of anything.
And Daisy might be beautiful, but she’s sure as sh*t no fool.
Three: Ho-ly shit wait…does life not suck? Is there such a thing as a second chance?
So you’ve got this new life in New York, and you’ve got a BFF from Louisville (Jordan Baker), and yes, Tom is cheating on you, but if he maybe just didn’t answer the goddamn phone during dinner for once you could just forget about it for literally one freaking second.
And then GUESS WHAT? Your old pal Nick Carraway is back! A friend, how amazing! HURRAY! And kinda strange, Nick wants you to get a weird one-on-one tea party on with him, but it’s like, whatever, Tom’s cheating anyway and you’re not interested in Nick like that but he’s a fun guy and you can just reject him.
But waitholdupWHOA what a wild coincidence! The guy who was lowkey the love of your life, Jay Gatsby, is also here! How, well, coincidental! You can play catch up and see his bougie-ass house and whatnot. And cry over the fact that he’s such a horrific asshole that he would leave you totally in the dust without contacting you for years and then all of a sudden appears and is like “I am very rich as promised I live right across the water from you I can see your house let’s get together here are all my fancy shirts I will throw them at you. So glad Nick is here for some reason let’s keep on not letting him leave.”
Plus life with Tom, as mentioned, is not extremely great.
So it’s like, yeah, perfect, okay. Let’s get some Gatsby on.
Four: No. No, there is not a chance of life not sucking. Life is terrible and so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into a gUY WHO IS JUST AS BAD.
GUESS WHAT WASN’T A COINCIDENCE? ANY OF THAT. All along, even the people you trusted most – Nick, Jordan, Gatsby – have been manipulating you. There have been secret plans and lies and tricks and all of these things just to get you to f*ck a guy.
And if you think about it, Gatsby is not nice or romantic or kind or fair to lil ol Daisy. At all. His expectations are insane. He got to leave her and build a life for himself and live as he wanted and travel and make up this story and be wealthy and throw parties, while she lived with a cheating husband. And after all that, if she wants admission into the life that being with him might give her, she has to say no, she wasn’t ever happy, there wasn’t a moment she loved Tom.
And when she plaintively says, “I love you now. Isn’t that enough? I can’t help the past,” she’s just begging Gatsby to accept her. How absolutely tragic. Tom cheats on her, Gatsby expects so much – she’s never been fully, truly, without-exception loved.
Five: Gatsby literally sucks oh my god
DAISY IS JUST A SYMBOL OF GATSBY’S ABILITY TO CONQUER THE SOCIOECONOMIC CASTE SYSTEM OF THE 1920S. Like, if he can “get” Daisy (literally an object), that’s not even enough. He has to have HAD DAISY FOREVER. Because then he’s beaten Tom, the symbol of old money.
He’s so gross, literally. Here are 2 quotes on Gatsby’s “““feelings””” for Daisy which illustrate how much he sucks.
“It excited him, too, that many men had already loved Daisy. It increased her value in his eyes.”
Her VALUE. Like she is an OBJECT. Because OTHER MEN were not enough, so he is THE BEST MAN.
Daisy must’ve fallen short of “the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man can think up in his ghostly heart.”
So he made her into this manic-pixie-dream IDEA of a person, and we’re supposed to be mad at her for not living up to it? Nah. Nope. Not going to happen. Gatsby sucks.
Six: It’s called the responsible choice, you raging dingbats
So AFTER she’s already been pressured by Gatsby to act as though entire swaths of her life didn’t happen, she finds out Gatsby has been lying to her all along – keeping the truth from her in order to protect this psychotic fairytale concoction of a totally goddamn made up story. Like! A! Total! Freak! What the f*ck would you do? If you were going to leave your sh*tty gross husband for what seems like a better life, but really has always been a lie – and a totally full on creepy one at that. And what if you had a daughter, who it’s made OVERWHELMINGLY CLEAR you love and worry about and she loves you too, so much. You’d just leave her in the care of that sh*tty creepy cheating disgusting husband, who couldn’t care less and would not be at all above using her as a chess piece??? You’d leave her when everything you thought you knew was completely made up???? When it’s just been your dearest loved ones manipulating you all along???
No, the f*ck you wouldn’t. Daisy’s choices were protecting her daughter, and sexy times with a con man. There’s no goddamn choice.
She’s great and smart and responsible. It couldn’t have been easy for her to stay with Tom, who SUCKS. She says to his face that he’s “repulsive.” But it was the grown-up option.
TALK ABOUT A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. She is such a queen.
Seven: Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot THE LAW THAT MARRIED COUPLES ARE EXACTLY THE SAME IN LEVELS OF BAD-NESS you fools
Tom sucks. We know this. He’s a racist cheating bastard, and he’s gross, and he hits Myrtle. He does plenty a’ terrible thing.
But guess who is not automatically responsible for his actions??? Daisy, b*tch. She totally roasts him up for his Rise of the Colored Empires pseudo-science racism. She simply does not treat people in the same way Tom does. She’s not him. I don’t get the grouping of them both together like it’s her fault. She’s totally trapped.
Eight: Do we know that she knows that Gatsby died? Do we really, really, reallyyyyy know?
When Nick calls her house, she’s gone. Like, do we honestlyyyyyy think that the dude who picked up the phone is actually going to tell her he called? Would you be rearing to go if a person you trusted who TOTALLY ACTUALLY MANIPULATED YOU hit you up after ignoring you for weeks like YOU ARE THE VILLAIN?
Honestly, there’s no real sign that Daisy knew he died, but literally what did she owe him anyway. He manipulated her, lied to her, treated her like an object and nearly ruined her life. Totally made a terrible existence into full on garbàge. Whatever, man.
Nine: The car thing
She was traumatized. Gatsby orchestrated the whole cover-up. He took the wheel, he drove away, he hid the car. She had no clue the whole thing would go horribly wrong. He’s the one who made all the choices in the aftermath. Duh.
God this was so long. I’m tired. And apologetic. Toward you, for having read a very long thing that I wrote, and toward myself, because I had to write it.
This should certainly be enough to prove that Daisy Buchanan is a victim to her circumstances and otherwise noble and great and trying her goddamn best in a world in which everyone treats her like the beautiful fool she is totally not.
Plus her voice is full of money.
Now go off in your new happy life of being utterly enamored with Daisy Buchanan.