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Higher English Daisy essay

Hi all, could someone knowledgeable in English please give me feedback on this essay ASAP - if it's not too much trouble? Many thanks.
Isolated Character in the Great Gatsby Daisy Buchanan

'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott. Fitzgerald is a compelling novel renowned for its character, Daisy Buchanan, who is emotionally isolated from the other characters. To portray her complexity, Fitzgerald uses a broad range of techniques such as symbolism, word choice and allusions. This novel follows the careless Nick Carraway and his elusive neighbour Jay Gatsby on his quest to win over the love of his life, Daisy. However, he is unsuccessful in his pursuit of happiness. The story ends with an accidental murder. Daisy stays with her bigoted, pretentious husband whilst Nick’s beliefs in humanity are swept away with Gatsby's last breath.

Daisy is initially associated with otherworldliness. During Nick's first visit he finds her and Jordan Baker sitting on an "enormous couch... buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon... [her dress] rippling and fluttering, as if [she] had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house". From this moment, Daisy becomes like an 'angel on earth'. She is routinely linked with the colour white - through her white dress, flowers, and car - always at the height of fashion, seemingly perfect yet still so complimentary to others. She seems pure in a world of darkness and deceit. However, this colour symbolism, and particularly this absence of colour could take a more ominous meaning, hinting that Daisy is a blank canvas for men to control and manipulate. She tends to be guided by other characters - letting both Tom and Gatsby dictate to her - she is easily persuaded to marry Tom. Given Gatsby's obsession with Daisy, her sweet disposition, and the lengths to which he has gone to win her, she seems a worthy paramour. Daisy is repeatedly linked with light. She behaves 'radiantly' and has a 'glowing' face. The origin of 'Daisy' is a 'days eye' which could suggest that she glows like the sun. However, she has a great need to be adored. Her charming behaviour is designed to get attention from people - crying 'ecstatically' when she discovers that there are people in Chicago who miss her. This reinforces the idea that she's needy and attention-seeking.

As the story continues, Daisy's true self slowly unravels, and bit by bit she becomes more painfully human and flawed. She enjoys the power and wealth Tom brings despite his infidelities. The treatment of their daughter and the way Daisy shows her off like an object is what first calls Daisy's behaviour into question. Daisy speaks of her daughter's birth, "'I hope she'll be a fool,' she says, 'that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.'" The wise way in which she speaks suggests that Daisy has experience in this area: In this world, a woman's beauty is what helps her survive, not her brain. Daisy's attitude could be viewed as a shrewd (albeit cynical) one. In a world dominated by men, intelligence in a woman could lead to frustration and unhappiness. Although Daisy seems weak and too naive for the world around her, it can be argued that Daisy realises how devoid of control she is in her life, hinting that she is more intelligent than she lets people - specifically men - know. In a sense, it appears that Daisy wishes she were merely a beautiful fool. A fool would not notice or care if her husband controlled her and cheated on her. Perhaps this delusion is what Daisy yearns for, to live blissfully unaware. Daisy is isolated in the sense that she puts on a façade of pretending to be this beautiful fool and pretends to be oblivious, hiding away her true feelings from this corrupt, sexist world.

Materialism seems to be at the forefront of Daisy's mind. It initially appears that Daisy is in love with Gatsby and is overwhelmed with joy to be reunited with him. However, her reaction to Gatsby's material clothes calls for her motives to be questioned. "'They're such beautiful shirts,' she sobbed" Daisy's response to Gatsby's shirts is peculiar. Breaking into tears upon being shown an assortment of shirts is far from typical. For her, the shirts represent wealth and means. When Daisy bows her head and sobs into the shirts, she displays her interest in materialism. She does not cry at the reunion with Gatsby, but at the pure satisfaction, his material wealth brings her. It is questioned whether this whole association with Gatsby was really a scheme to get back at her husband Tom and if this attachment to Gatsby has been purely business. Daisy wants and is used to a life of privilege - she's scared of change. Her deep interest in Gatsby's possessions rather than Gatsby encapsulates her true intentions. Daisy is affected by materialism as in that it influences her choice in men and plays a role in her regret of not marrying Gatsby. She is completely alone in her problems, secret affair and conflicted emotions. Perhaps this reaction to Gatsby's material wealth is Daisy’s acknowledgement that her life has not gone as planned due to her prioritisation of wealth.

Daisy is a seductive character, linking to her materialism. She seduces wealthy men and uses her seduction to get whatever she wants. Gatsby is obsessed with her, and at times Nick and Tom also seem enchanted. Much of Daisy's power lies in her voice. Gatsby says that her voice is "full of money". Gatsby explicitly ties his love for Daisy to his pursuit of wealth and status, allowing Daisy to become a stand-in for the idea of The American Dream. She represents perfection to Gatsby because she has the wealth, class, charm, and sophistication Gatsby has wanted all his life. Daisy's voice is a crucial part of her persona. This idea alludes to mythological sirens from 'The Odyssey'. Metaphorically, Gatsby drowns trying to reach Daisy across the sound of her voice. The suggestion is that Daisy's beautiful voice makes her both irresistible and dangerous, especially to men. By making her voice her most alluring feature rather than her looks or movement, Fitzgerald makes that crucial allusion clear. He also makes it easier to connect Daisy to less tangible qualities like money and the American Dream since her voice is used - something that is ephemeral and fleeting - making her incredibly alluring. If Daisy were just a beautiful woman, she would not have that symbolic power. Her need to seduce men ties to her inability to do anything for herself. Because of the corrupted dream, it is impossible for women to make their way in the world purely from talent. Daisy Buchanan must make herself appear enticing to men to make her dreams come true suggesting feelings of helplessness, isolation and a lack of control.

Daisy cannot live up to Gatsby's dream. She is not the angelic woman he created inside his head. Daisy reveals herself to be complicated and broken in a sense. When Gatsby desperately tries to persuade her to be with him, she panics - just wanting to escape Gatsby and the pressure of this stressful situation. As Nick observes, "with every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so that he gave up." Daisy's inability to deny ever having loved Tom speaks well for her, hinting that her attachment to Gatsby was just one of her well-conceived plans to get what she wanted out of her marriage. She succeeds. She cannot give up her life to be with Gatsby no matter how unhappy she is - she is a dreamer, but she is not brave enough to break free of society's expectations. She says little whilst Tom dominates the conversation, bullying and bossing her about. This suggests her weakness and her inability to make her own decisions. Daisy returns to Tom for the comfort and protection his money and power bring. Tom is aware of this. Hence his punishment for Daisy and Gatsby to take one final, painful car ride together - eventually leading to the demise of Myrtle. This is soon followed by the death of Gatsby, the American Dream and, therefore, Gatsby's naive dream of a life with his beloved, manipulative Daisy. Beneath Daisy's attractive appearance, Daisy is shallow and empty. Her voice is appealing, but she never says anything insightful - her use of short sentences, hyperbole and pointless stories indicates a lack of depth, and it is hinted that her interesting stories and raw thoughts are buried deep within herself.

Despite her angelic disposition, Daisy is secretly self-absorbed and secretive. Her affection for others never overcomes her selfishness, so she seems disloyal. Gatsby takes the blame for Myrtle's death and Daisy lets him. When Gatsby is asked whether Daisy was driving, he admits the truth followed by "but of course I'll say I was." Those who feel sympathetic towards Daisy Buchanan may argue that it was Gatsby's idea in the first place, insinuating that she is just a weak character who gives in to the stronger personality. A blunter view suggests that Daisy is selfish and cowardly, unable to appreciate Gatsby's sacrifice. Daisy shows a sense of carelessness and selfishness. After Gatsby has devoted his life working to 'win' her, taken the blame for her murder and later met his demise, she seems to have done almost nothing for him. She has an affair with him and then leaves him once she is finished with him. After his death, Daisy has not gone to his funeral. Nor has she 'sent a message or a flower'. She likes others to think highly of her, so hides her mistakes, murder and any association with Jay Gatsby. During the resolution, Daisy has shown her true colours. Now that her carefully placed mask of innocence and light has slipped off, her flaws are apparent. She must flee to somewhere else where she can start afresh and once again present herself as a perfect woman, although this may become harder to do as her secrets pile up. The only person who truly knows Daisy is herself, adding on to the ever-growing burden of isolation she faces.

To conclude, Daisy Buchanan is an isolated character in this novel. She is surrounded by people who want to be close to her, but she seems unable to form authentic and meaningful connections. Tom is cheating on her, Gatsby is obsessed with her, yet she still chooses wealth over love and family. Overall, Fitzgerald makes it ambiguous whether Daisy is a weak victim who should be pitied or if she is deliberately manipulative. During the exposition, Daisy seems like an angel, however, her misdemeanours show as the story develops - she shows herself to be aware that she is being controlled yet does nothing about it. Her reaction to Gatsby's wealth may mean she is materialistic or just overwhelmed by it. It is debated whether she chose Tom because she was just using Gatsby or whether society would not allow her to be with Gatsby. Daisy is seductive and gets what she wants, putting on a facade that indicates a deep concern for other people, yet when Gatsby dies no sign of care is shown. Daisy could also be materialistic, weak, and selfish. She is an illusion, very much like the American Dream. Daisy Buchanan shows the reader the insane levity of control money had over the lives of New Yorkers in the 1920s and the societal judgement of those lacking in it due to the corruptness of that era. Daisy is a layered character, difficult to form an opinion on, leaving the truth of her morality and intentions up for interpretation.
Hello!
I'm in S6, I got an A1 at higher and am currently studying advanced higher english so hopefully my comments will be of some use to you.
Firstly the positives;
- This is a great essay, and it is very well written. It is shown clearly that you have a good knowledge of the text and the character of Daisy through your well written context and description of her.
- The language is also very good, it's formal and for the majority concise.
- Absolutely love your use of mentioning cultural allusion - such as your reference to the odyssey. That will score highly!

Things to work on (If you would like, because i think you would still score quite high with this essay as it is)
- In your introduction remember to mention the genre of the novel.

- I would recommend switching the structure, and put the description of the novel before your link to the question and the description of techniques used.
For example
'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott. Fitzgerald is a compelling novel renowned for its character, Daisy Buchanan, who is emotionally isolated from the other characters.This novel follows the careless Nick Carraway and his elusive neighbour Jay Gatsby on his quest to win over the love o f his life, Daisy. However, he is unsuccessful in his pursuit of happiness. The story ends with an accidental murder. Daisy stays with her bigoted, pretentious husband whilst Nick’s beliefs in humanity are swept away with Gatsby's last breath. To portray the complexity and isolation of Daisy's character, Fitzgerald uses many techniques such as symbolism, word choice and cultural allusions.

- In the first paragraph, you don't link back to the question at all. Yes it's good that you can tell us her white dress makes her like an angel, and is a symbol for manipulation. But how does this make her appear isolated? I would say paragraph one has too much analysis of the quote and not enough linking back to the question. Even though analysis is important, your main aim to answer the question well.

- Cutting down your analysis in all paragraphs is recommended, as I do feel your essay is a bit long. Since your analysis is so strong I don't believe five paragraphs with quotations is completely necessary. I only wrote 3 in my higher critical essay and scored 19/20. Quality over quantity always!

- All i really have to say is to improve your linking to the question, the majority of your paragraphs have such strong quote analysis and context, but they are then let down by a weak one sentence link back it the question. It seems like the question is more like an afterthought.

- Your conclusion is great, but perhaps a bit wordy. Try to cut it down by removing some of the unnecessary describing words and repetition of words that have the same meaning. Conclusions should aim to be a concise summary of what was said in the essay and you don't seem to do that, remember to mention the techniques Fitz used again. e.g - In conclusion, Fitzgerald used many techniques such as allusion, word choice and symbolism to portray the isolation of Daisy's character. This just rounds up the whole essay with a nice summary of what you've said.

I hope some of what i said helped, remember you don't need to listen to any of it if you want. Because this is an incredible essay anyway, that i would predict would score around 17-18.

Rebekah :smile:
Original post by bekah19b
Hello!
I'm in S6, I got an A1 at higher and am currently studying advanced higher english so hopefully my comments will be of some use to you.
Firstly the positives;
- This is a great essay, and it is very well written. It is shown clearly that you have a good knowledge of the text and the character of Daisy through your well written context and description of her.
- The language is also very good, it's formal and for the majority concise.
- Absolutely love your use of mentioning cultural allusion - such as your reference to the odyssey. That will score highly!

Things to work on (If you would like, because i think you would still score quite high with this essay as it is)
- In your introduction remember to mention the genre of the novel.

- I would recommend switching the structure, and put the description of the novel before your link to the question and the description of techniques used.
For example
'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott. Fitzgerald is a compelling novel renowned for its character, Daisy Buchanan, who is emotionally isolated from the other characters.This novel follows the careless Nick Carraway and his elusive neighbour Jay Gatsby on his quest to win over the love o f his life, Daisy. However, he is unsuccessful in his pursuit of happiness. The story ends with an accidental murder. Daisy stays with her bigoted, pretentious husband whilst Nick’s beliefs in humanity are swept away with Gatsby's last breath. To portray the complexity and isolation of Daisy's character, Fitzgerald uses many techniques such as symbolism, word choice and cultural allusions.

- In the first paragraph, you don't link back to the question at all. Yes it's good that you can tell us her white dress makes her like an angel, and is a symbol for manipulation. But how does this make her appear isolated? I would say paragraph one has too much analysis of the quote and not enough linking back to the question. Even though analysis is important, your main aim to answer the question well.

- Cutting down your analysis in all paragraphs is recommended, as I do feel your essay is a bit long. Since your analysis is so strong I don't believe five paragraphs with quotations is completely necessary. I only wrote 3 in my higher critical essay and scored 19/20. Quality over quantity always!

- All i really have to say is to improve your linking to the question, the majority of your paragraphs have such strong quote analysis and context, but they are then let down by a weak one sentence link back it the question. It seems like the question is more like an afterthought.

- Your conclusion is great, but perhaps a bit wordy. Try to cut it down by removing some of the unnecessary describing words and repetition of words that have the same meaning. Conclusions should aim to be a concise summary of what was said in the essay and you don't seem to do that, remember to mention the techniques Fitz used again. e.g - In conclusion, Fitzgerald used many techniques such as allusion, word choice and symbolism to portray the isolation of Daisy's character. This just rounds up the whole essay with a nice summary of what you've said.

I hope some of what i said helped, remember you don't need to listen to any of it if you want. Because this is an incredible essay anyway, that i would predict would score around 17-18.

Rebekah :smile:


Wow, Rebekah, thank you so much for taking the time to read my essay and giving me such positive and also honest feedback. That is so kind of you!!! (Well done on your A1 by the way!) I'm so grateful for your advice and I will definitely make all of the changes you suggested.
Again, thank you so much - you are a life saver! (I love you)

Rose :smile:

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