The Great Gatsby

by

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Daisy Buchanan Character Analysis

The love of Jay Gatsby's life, the cousin of Nick Carraway, and the wife of Tom Buchanan. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where she met and fell in love with Gatsby. She describes herself as "sophisticated" and says the best thing a girl can be is a "beautiful little fool," which makes it unsurprising that she lacks conviction and sincerity, and values material things over all else. Yet Daisy isn't just a shallow gold digger. She's more tragic: a loving woman who has been corrupted by greed. She chooses the comfort and security of money over real love, but she does so knowingly. Daisy's tragedy conveys the alarming extent to which the lust for money captivated Americans during the Roaring Twenties.

Daisy Buchanan Quotes in The Great Gatsby

The The Great Gatsby quotes below are all either spoken by Daisy Buchanan or refer to Daisy Buchanan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of The Great Gatsby published in 2004.
Chapter 1 Quotes
"And I hope she'll be a fool — that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."
Related Characters: Daisy Buchanan (speaker), Pammy Buchanan
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Her husband, among various physical accomplishments, had been one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven—a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anti-climax. […] They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. This was a permanent move, said Daisy over the telephone, but I didn’t believe it—I had no sight into Daisy’s heart but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking a little wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes
“Why didn’t he ask you to arrange a meeting?”

“He wants her to see his house,” she explained. “And your house is right next door.”

“Oh!”
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jordan Baker (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan
Related Symbols: Gatsby's Mansion
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes
"It makes me sad because I've never seen such — such beautiful shirts before."
Related Characters: Daisy Buchanan (speaker), Jay Gatsby
Related Symbols: Gatsby's Mansion
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
They were sitting at either end of the couch looking at each other as if some question had been asked or was in the air, and every vestige of embarrassment was gone. Daisy’s face was smeared with tears and when I came in she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
“That huge place THERE?” she cried pointing.

“Do you like it?”

“I love it, but I don’t see how you live there all alone.”

“I keep it always full of interesting people, night and day. People who do interesting things. Celebrated people.”
Related Characters: Jay Gatsby (speaker), Daisy Buchanan (speaker), Nick Carraway
Related Symbols: Gatsby's Mansion
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
We went upstairs, through period bedrooms swathed in rose and lavender silk and vivid with new flowers, through dressing rooms and poolrooms, and bathrooms with sunken baths—intruding into one chamber where a dishevelled man in pajamas was doing liver exercises on the floor.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, Ewing Klipspringer
Related Symbols: Gatsby's Mansion
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real. Once he nearly toppled down a flight of stairs.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan
Related Symbols: Gatsby's Mansion
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
“If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” said Gatsby. “You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.”

Daisy put her arm through his abruptly but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.
Related Characters: Jay Gatsby (speaker), Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
As I went over to say goodbye I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams—not through her own fault but because 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 will store up in his ghostly heart.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes
"I wouldn't ask too much of her," I ventured. "You can't repeat the past."
"Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!"
He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.
Related Characters: Jay Gatsby (speaker), Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan
Related Symbols: Gatsby's Mansion
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
“I wonder where in the devil he met Daisy. By God, I may be old-fashioned in my ideas, but women run around too much these days to suit me. They meet all kinds of crazy fish.”

[…]

Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisy’s running around alone, for on the following Saturday night he came with her to Gatsby’s party. Perhaps his presence gave the evening its peculiar quality of oppressiveness—it stands out in my memory from Gatsby’s other parties that summer. There were the same people, or at least the same sort of people, the same profusion of champagne, the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion, but I felt an unpleasantness in the air, a pervading harshness that hadn’t been there before.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Tom Buchanan (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan
Related Symbols: Gatsby's Mansion
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: “I never loved you.” After she had obliterated four years with that sentence they could decide upon the more practical measures to be taken. One of them was that, after she was free, they were to go back to Louisville and be married from her house—just as if it were five years ago.

“And she doesn’t understand,” he said. “She used to be able to understand. We’d sit for hours—”
Related Characters: Jay Gatsby (speaker), Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan (speaker), Tom Buchanan
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes
"Her voice is full of money," he said suddenly.
That was it. I'd never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it.
Related Characters: Jay Gatsby (speaker), Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
“Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. “I love you now—isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.” She began to sob helplessly. “I did love him once—but I loved you too.”
Related Characters: Daisy Buchanan (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, Tom Buchanan
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
“She’s not leaving me!” Tom’s words suddenly leaned down over Gatsby. “Certainly not for a common swindler who’d have to steal the ring he put on her finger.”

[…]

“Who are you, anyhow?” broke out Tom. “You’re one of that bunch that hangs around with Meyer Wolfsheim—that much I happen to know. I’ve made a little investigation into your affairs—and I’ll carry it further tomorrow. […] I found out what your ‘drug stores’ were.” He turned to us and spoke rapidly. “He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him and I wasn’t far wrong.”
Related Characters: Daisy Buchanan (speaker), Tom Buchanan (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, Meyer Wolfsheim
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes
“You ought to go away,” I said. “It’s pretty certain they’ll trace your car.”

“Go away NOW, old sport?”

“Go to Atlantic City for a week, or up to Montreal.”

He wouldn’t consider it. He couldn’t possibly leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do. He was clutching at some last hope and I couldn’t bear to shake him free.
Related Characters: Jay Gatsby (speaker), Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
However glorious might be his future as Jay Gatsby, he was at present a penniless young man without a past, and at any moment the invisible cloak of his uniform might slip from his shoulders. So he made the most of his time. He took what he could get, ravenously and unscrupulously—eventually he took Daisy one still October night, took her because he had no real right to touch her hand.

He might have despised himself, for he had certainly taken her under false pretenses. I don’t mean that he had traded on his phantom millions, but he had deliberately given Daisy a sense of security; he let her believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as herself—that he was fully able to take care of her. As a matter of fact he had no such facilities—he had no comfortable family standing behind him and he was liable at the whim of an impersonal government to be blown anywhere about the world.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes
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.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
That's my Middle West . . . the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark. . . . I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.
Related Symbols: East and West
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:
And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world.... And as I sat there, brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out Daisy's light at the end of his dock. He had come such a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. But what he did not know was that it was already behind him, somewhere in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
I shook hands with him; it seemed silly not to, for I felt suddenly as though I were talking to a child. Then he went into the jewelry store to buy a pearl necklace—or perhaps only a pair of cuff buttons—rid of my provincial squeamishness forever.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
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Daisy Buchanan Character Timeline in The Great Gatsby

The timeline below shows where the character Daisy Buchanan appears in The Great Gatsby. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
...has East Egg connections, drives over to East Egg to have dinner at the Buchanans. Daisy Buchanan is Nick's cousin, and Nick vaguely knew her husband Tom because Tom also attended... (full context)
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Just then, Tom learns he has a phone call and leaves the room. Daisy follows quickly behind, and Jordan tells Nick that the call is from Tom's mistress. The... (full context)
Chapter 2
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
...increasingly loud. After Tom gives her a puppy as a gift, she starts talking about Daisy. Tom warns her that she doesn't have the right to use Daisy's name. But she... (full context)
Chapter 4
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Past and Future Theme Icon
...Gatsby had told her earlier: as a young man, Gatsby had a passionate romance with Daisy Fay, who is now Daisy Buchanan. During the war, when Daisy was not yet twenty,... (full context)
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Past and Future Theme Icon
...the story later in Central Park. She says Gatsby never fell out of love with Daisy and bought his giant mansion in West Egg to be across the bay from her.... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
...Nick realizes that Gatsby's is trying to convince him to set up the meeting with Daisy. Nick tells Gatsby he'll do it. Gatsby then offers Nick the chance to join a... (full context)
Past and Future Theme Icon
...grass, and also makes sure Nick's house is full of flowers. Gatsby disappears just as Daisy arrives. When Gatsby arrives at Nick's front door, he looks pale and deathlike, and knocks... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Gatsby and Daisy treat each other formally at first, and Gatsby's nerves threaten to overwhelm him. Nick leaves... (full context)
Past and Future Theme Icon
Nick, meanwhile, privately wonders how Daisy can possibly fulfill Gatsby's idealized vision of her. Nick reflects that over the years Gatsby... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
...his hangers-on, Ewing Klipspringer, to play the piano for the three of them. Gatsby holds Daisy's hand and she whispers something to him that seems to stir his emotions. Nick, sensing... (full context)
Chapter 6
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Past and Future Theme Icon
The next Saturday night, Tom and Daisy come to a party at Gatsby's. The party strikes Nick as particularly unpleasant. Tom is... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Past and Future Theme Icon
After the party, Gatsby is depressed. He suspects that Daisy neither enjoyed the party nor understands the depth of his feelings for her. Nick reminds... (full context)
Past and Future Theme Icon
...recalls a memory that Gatsby once shared with him about the first time Gatsby kissed Daisy. Nick calls Gatsby's sentimentality about history "appalling" and reflects that in that kiss Gatsby's dreams... (full context)
Chapter 7
The American Dream Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Past and Future Theme Icon
On the hottest day of the summer, Daisy invites Nick and Gatsby to lunch with her, Tom, and Jordan. At one point, while... (full context)
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
...lunch is awkward, at least in part because of the intense heat. At one point Daisy asks what they should do with the rest of the day and the next thirty... (full context)
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Tom insists on driving Gatsby's big yellow car. Gatsby and Daisy travel alone in Tom's coupe, while Tom drives Nick and Jordan. It's clear Tom now... (full context)
Past and Future Theme Icon
...the windows above the garage at Jordan Baker, whom she seems to have mistaken for Daisy, her rival in love. (full context)
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
...asks what kind of a split Gatsby's trying to cause between Tom and his wife. Daisy tries and fails to quiet Tom. (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Gatsby says Daisy never loved Tom and has only ever loved him. Tom protests, but Daisy says it's... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Past and Future Theme Icon
Yet when Tom asks her to think about their history together, Daisy admits that she did love Tom in the past, she just loved Gatsby too. Gatsby... (full context)
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
...reveals that Gatsby really is involved with organized crime, such as bootlegging. All this terrifies Daisy, who begs that they leave and go home. Tom, realizing he's won, tells her to... (full context)
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Past and Future Theme Icon
...new decade stretched before him. In Tom's car heading back toward Long Island (Gatsby and Daisy took Gatsby's car), Nick observes that unlike Daisy, people like Jordan Baker know better than... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
...waits for it outside, he sees Gatsby hiding in the bushes. Gatsby tells him that Daisy was driving the car and that he tried to stop the accident, but was too... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Past and Future Theme Icon
Nick goes and checks on Daisy through the window, and sees Tom and Daisy sitting on either side of some fried... (full context)
Chapter 8
The American Dream Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Past and Future Theme Icon
Nick visits Gatsby for breakfast the next morning. Gatsby tells Nick that Daisy never came outside the previous night, but rejects Nick's advice to forget Daisy and leave... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
...the primary contact for all matters relating to Gatsby because nobody else wanted to be. Daisy and Tom disappear with no forwarding address, and Meyer Wolfsheim says he has pressing business... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
...The Great Gatsby as a story of the West since many of the key characters (Daisy, Tom, Nick, Jordan, Gatsby) involved were not from the East. He says that after Gatsby's... (full context)
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
...the apartment in which he conducted his affair with Myrtle. Nick doesn't tell Tom that Daisy was at the wheel. He describes Tom and Daisy as careless people who destroy things... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
...similar wonder when he realized that tiny blinking green light across the bay belonged to Daisy Buchanan. (full context)