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With how much sympathy are we meant to view Daisy? |

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I think you are entitled to write your essay from the perspective of how much sympathy you yourself feel for Daisy. We cannot feel what the author might have expected us to feel, even though this is a famous book by a distinguished American author. There are, in my own opinion, several reasons for feeling some sympathy for Daisy.

  • She is a beautiful and well-meaning young woman who is not appreciated by her husband, who is cheating on her outrageously with a married woman who is inferior to her in many ways besides in social class.
  • She has a very attractive and dynamic man in love with her, but she is unable to do what he wants her to do, i.e., to divorce Tom and marry Gatsby. She is not a strong person. She feels too dependent on Tom, too hidebound by laws and conventions, to make the kind of courageous and dangerous decisions that would be easy for Gatsby. Daisy is no Anna Karenina.
  • Daisy comes from a rich family. Wealth can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Wealth has given her an easy existence all her life but has also prevented her from developing strength,independence, and resourcefulness. Gatsby idealizes her. He expects her to be bold and resourceful like himself. Instead, she childishly expects protection and comfort. Her smashing up Gatsby's car and killing Tom's other woman might be said to symbolize Daisy's immature incompetence.
  • As her name suggests, Daisy is like a beautiful and fragile little flower which blooms for only a short while. It is not her fault, but the result of her soft, secure upbringing. She was never expected to be much of anything but a decorative little housewife dependent on a rich and devoted husband. Tom lets her down.
  • Gatsby expects too much from her. She is too weak and too spoiled to live up to his grandiose and romantic expectations.
  • There is no particular reason not to feel sympathy for Daisy. She didn't ask Gatsby to come storming into her life and creating all sorts of problems for her which she is not equipped to deal with. She has no understanding of reality, and she tends to hide from reality.


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