Fight or Flight! Or neither...

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I am anxious for Daisy. She doesn't seem racist, but Tom is very openly so. Tom is also obviously abusive (not only to her) and they don't love eachother and he's cheating on her. I am upset that our main character Nick or Jacob (one of those two) hasn't done anything. On page 16, at dinner (which is unlike what communion is supposed to be according to HRP) the narrator says about the tone of the evening, "To a certain temperament the situation might have seemed intriguing - my own instinct was to telephone immediatly for the police."

Why doesn't he do this when is cousin is obviously in danger and hurt?  Is the narrator scared to face giant Tom? Does he feel like it's not his place because he isn't wealthy or he isn't married to her? On page 38, Tom wacks Mrs. Wilson across the face and the narrator just walks calmly from the room. He doesn't call the police or confront Tom. Perhaps for the same reasons or it may be because he doesn't care if Mrs. Wilson gets hit. Maybe he was too drunk to care about another woman unrelated to him beat up.

Page 21: "It seemed to me that the thing for Daisy to do was to rush out of the house, child in arms - but apparently there were no such intentions in her head." I also don't understand why Daisy doesn't leave Tom. I think, aside from the child, Daisy doesn't leave because of the money. Perhaps she fears that as a woman she can't support herself or her child. Or maybe she tolerates him for his money like a gold-digger. I think that's what Nikita is suggesting.

Great Gatsby

5 Comments

Sue said:

I agree that Nick should have done something, but you have to remember this is a time period where you mind your own business, if this whole situation happend today it would be a whole different story.

Christopher Dufalla said:

Nick more or less keeps to himself. True, the alcohol might have impaired his faculties slightly, but even if he had not partaken of the drink, I still believe that he would have let nature take its course. He appears to be a pacifist and dislikes confrontation. Perhaps that makes him a coward, but then again, how many people today are fond of brushing off issues with the proverbial "that's not my problem"?

Andrew Adams said:

I think that Daisy doesn't leave for a couple of reasons. The biggest one, which Tom actually mentions, is that her religion does not believe in divorce. Religion can make a person be in an abusive relationship their entire life, because they think they will go to hell if they get divorced. Also, this book is not set in our society as it exists today. While the 20s was a great time for the advancement of women, they were still in many ways subordinate to men. Also, while I am not completely sure, abuse was probably not considered as bad back then. Either that or it is just Tom's hulking appearance that prevents anyone from taking action.

Aja Hannah said:

But, Nick doesn't think the abuse is good for Daisy. He believes she should run from the house with the baby. And about the religion part. Nick says this is a lie. On page 33, "Daisy was not a Catholic, and I was a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie."

Good point, Aja. Note also that Nick isn't shocked that Catherine would spread false information -- apparently either Tom lied to Myrtle or Myrtle lied to her sister, but at any rate Catherine is using Daisy's (imaginary) Catholicism as her reason for staying married. Nick isn't shocked about the lie -- after all, Tom and Myrtle each know that the other is the kind of person who would cheat on a spouse. It's the elaborate nature of the lie that shocks Nick.

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