I recently read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Like many people, I strongly dislike Daisy. What she did was pure selfish. How did she ever have the audacity to say she loved BOTH Tom and Gatsby, when she failed to show love towards either. Love isn’t selfish. She didn’t love them. She just wanted to security and looked for it in the two men.
Many say that Daisy is a product of the society she has lived in. I don’t think it excuses her selfishness. She has been wronged in many ways, but she has also done wrong in many ways as well.
Funny thing is, I was challenged in my belief of Daisy’s guilt by Fitzgerald himself. The very first line spoke to me as I reread it: who are you to judge?
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had.” (Fitzgerald)
Daisy didn’t have the luxury of living in a society where women aren’t entirely dependent on men. She was looking for security. Isn’t that what we all want?
Maybe she did love both.
Perhaps she was sad and confused and powerless.
When first reading, I felt like I could connect to her, being a woman and well, human. Yet instead of empathizing with her, I condemned her. I ranted on and on about how undeserving she is of Gatsby’s love. How selfish she was to use them both. Until I realized she hasn’t had the advantages I have had.
You can never truly understand a person and never have the right to criticize another is one of the most important life lessons I am taking from Gatsby.