Why Does He Love Her?

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"I can't describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her, old sport...Well,there I was, way off my ambition, getting deeper in love every minute, and all of a sudden I didn't care.  What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?"

At this point in the novel, Gatsby finally "grows up."  He realizes his life doesn't have to be the "happy go-lucky" style which he was previously living.  He finds his true love, and consequently, realizes that he would rather spend the rest of his life with her than simply fulfilling his childish dreams.  While serving in the army, he becomes consumed by thinking of her, and ends up devoting the rest of his life to finding and marrying her.  

Since Daisy is a rather whimsical young woman, I can't figure out why an intelligent man like Gatsby would be so in love with her.  She's rich, pretty, and basically a wallflower.  So I now pose this question: what do you think Gatsby saw in Daisy which made him love her ?  Was it simply the fact that she was his first "love," or was it something more?

7 Comments

Aja Hannah said:

Nick mentions several times that Daisy's voice combined with her poise/beauty was alluring.

I think it was also that she was his first love and he ended up obsessing over the ideal her that he remembered. Not really her. But, he may also love her the way she is. He'd have to or he wouldn't be the great man that Nick says he is at the end.

Carlos Peredo said:

I think you make the mistake of assuming that Gatsby is intelligent. I would argue that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most of Gatsby's success seems to be lucky. Sure, he excelled in the war, but that doesn't he was intelligent, just a good general. In fact, after the war, he couldn't even make it at Oxford (though admittedly after he was consumed by love.)

No, I don't think Gatsby is intelligent. It seems to me that his friend Wolfsheim totally made him. Gatsby's first taste of wealth comes on that yacht, and even though he comes away with none of that money, he manages to charm another rich man in Wolfsheim into helping make him. All Gatsby really does is run with it.

So to answer your question, I think Gatsby pursues Daisy so adamantly because he isn't intelligent enough to realize that she's nothing special.

Alicia Campbell said:

I would argue that Gatsby was attracted to Daisy because of the "money" that was in her voice, and money was what he desired. Also set forth in the work is the fact that Daisy's promiscuity increased her value in Gatsby's eyes. Instead of being turned off by the fact that many men had Daisy, Gatsby is more attracted by it. I would also argue that Gatsby wanted to believe he was a good enough man to change Daisy, not only to settle her down to accept one man, but to accept a man for who he is rather than what he can give her. This is why so many young women are attracted to bad boys. They think they can get them to accept one woman although they can have many, and to change their bad boy behavior; this kind of thinking often leads to a fatal attraction. These young women are attracted by the ideas that they will be enough of a woman to satisfy a man who has had many, and that they will reap the gratitude of having made a person change for the better. Unfortunately, many young women, as well as Gatsby, end up getting hurt in this attempt.

Annamarie Houston said:

I completely agree with Alicia Campbell and Carlos Peredo. She wanted money so he made money. In a way, he did everything for her, even searched for her after leaving the Army. However, I don't think him to be a very intelligent man. He's is, like Carlos said, extremely lucky.

April Minerd said:

I agree with Alicia and Carlos that some of Gatsby's attraction for Daisy came from her wealth. He desired to be prosperous and that was what Daisy stood for. I don't think he was attracted to her promiscuity. A quote comes to mind: "Men always want to be a woman's fist love. Women like to be a man's last romance." Generally men can be turned off by promiscuous women they want to be the first, and like Alicia said, women, believing they will be the ones to change men, want to be the last. I took "many men had already loved Daisy" as many men adored her; therefore, Gatsby wants what everyone else wants.

Gatsby never struck me as stupid. He made a point to set goals for himself at a young age. Remember the book his father carried contained a to-do list: "Read one or more improving book" In fact he invented the person he is. The problem is he invented an idea of Daisy as well, and reality Daisy doesn't hold up to fantasy Daisy.

Andrew Adams said:

I don't really think that Gatsby was growing up at all in this passage, actually quite the contrary. Gatsby is saying that he has more fun telling someone that he is going to do all these dreams than actually doing them. This is his giving into his immaturity and latching on to the first "nice" girl that he meets.

As for Carlos's notion that Gatsby is not intelligent, I would have to disagree. While he is not overly sophisticated, his to-do list and the way he went out and achieved his ambitions in my eyes makes him intelligent. Book smarts are not all that is important in this world.

Julie Cosgrove said:

gatsby didn't see her for who she was when he was younger and not yet exposed to the experiences of the army. It is only the life experience he gained in the army that he sees her for who she is. It is at that point his purpose becomes the betterment for the express of himself more desirable to a woman of her calibur.

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