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The Character of Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby

The character of Daisy Buchanan has many instances where her life and love of herself, money, and materialism come into play. Daisy is constantly portrayed as someone who is only happy when things are being given to her and circumstances are going as she has planned them. Because of this, Daisy seems to be the character that turns Fitzgerald’s story from a tale of wayward love to a saga of unhappy lives. Fitzgerald portrays Daisy as a “doomed” character from the very beginning of the novel. She seems concerned only of her own stability and is sometimes not ready to go though what she feels she must do to continue the life that she has grown to know. She tells that she only married Tom Buchanan for the security he offered and love had little to do with the issue. Before her wedding, Jordan Baker finds Daisy in her hotel room, “groping around in the waste-basket she had with her on the bed and pull[ing] out [a] string of pearls. “Take ’em down-stairs and give ’em back…. Tell ’em all Daisy’s change’ her mine… She began to cry – she cried and cried… we locked the door and got her into a cold bath.” (Fitzgerald 77)

Money seems to be one of the very top priorities in her life, and everyone that she surrounds herself with, including her daughter, seem to accept this as mere fact with her. She lives in one of the most elite neighborhoods in the state, in one of the most elegant houses described in the book, and intends very much for her daughter to grow up much like she has. “And I hope she’ll be a fool –that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world today, a beautiful little fool.” (Fitzgerald 24) She raves repeatedly of boats and large windows and halls where many a extravagant party is held. This only stands remind of her reliance on material goods and her stories of her gowns and home furnishings confirm this sad fact. Daisy is one woman who is at home in Bloomingdales, and shuns anyone who would be out-of-place at a gathering of societies richest and most pompous citizens. She is forever looking forward to showing off, and she exhibits such behavior when she parades her daughter around in front of guests like an inanimate object. So intimate in fact, that it seems as if Pammy was not even really wanted.

Role of Women in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

The Role of Women in Heart of Darkness

In the tale Heart of Darkness, Kurtz, a European “White Knight”, sets out on a crusade to win the hearts and minds of the lesser African people. Kurtz was ignorant of the degree to which Africa is dangerous, wild, timeless, feminine, unfettered by letters, religious, and vibrant. His love turns to rape when he discovers how unfitted he is to master the magnificent vitality of a natural world. The difference between Europe and Africa is the difference between two secondary symbols: the European woman who has helped to puff up Kurtz’s pride and the African woman who has helped to deflate him.

The Intended (nameless, intended for someone else, not herself) is totally protected (helpless), rhetorically programmed (words without matter), nun-like in her adoration (sexually repressed), living in black, in a place of darkness, in a pre-Eliot City of the Dead, in the wasteland of modern Europe. She, like Europe, is primarily exterior, for the simple black garment hides nothing.

The Native Woman is Africa, all interior, in spite of her lavish mode of dress. While Kurtz is male, white, bald, oral, unrestrained, the native woman is female, black, stunningly coiffured, emotive, and restrained.

When Kurtz says “The horror! The horror!” rhetoric and reality come together; Europe and Africa, the Intended and the African, collide. Kurtz realices that all he has been nurtured to believe in, to operate from, is a sham; hence, a horror. The primal nature of nature is also, to him, a horror, because he has been stripped of his own culture and stands both literally and figuratively naked before another; he has been exposed to desire but can not comprehend it through some established …

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…n. Marlow neatly sums up the tragic relationship that was created among these three people:

“She put out her arms as if after a retreating figure, stretching them back and with clasped pale hands across the fading and narrow sheen of the window. Never see him! I saw him clearly enough then. I shall see this eloquent phantom as long as I live, and I shall see her too, a tragic and familiar shade, resembling in this gesture another one, tragic also, and bedecked with powerless charms, stretching bare brown arms over the glitter of the infernal stream, the stream of darkness”.

Empty words, empty gestures. Europe and Africa. Each is a Heart of Darkness. A choice of nightmares.

Works Cited

The World’s Classics Joseph Conrad. Youth, Heart of Darkness, The End of the Tether. Edited with an introduction by Robert Kimbrough. Introduction, Notes, Glossary.

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