, Research Paper
The Careless Killings of Daisy Buchanan
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is about a man named Jay Gatsby, who
has a dream of winning over the wealthy Daisy Buchanan. In this “American
Masterpiece”, three innocent people die because of the carelessness of Daisy. She is
responsible for betraying Gatsby’s dream, running over Myrtle with her car and
indirectly causing George’s suicide.
Daisy is both directly and indirectly responsible for the death of Myrtle Wilson.
Fitzgerald arranges Daisy to kill Myrtle in an auto accident, to typify the careless
character Daisy portrays. Daisy grew up among “East Eggers”, where everything
including money and wealth was handed to her on a “golden platter.” Daisy
innocently thinks that someone will always be there to clean up after her, so she
doesn’t think twice before she makes a mess. “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…”(page 187) Myrtle’s death was
a mistake that could have easily been prevented had Daisy been a careful driver
and cautious person.
Daisy’s betrayal of Gatsby’s dream leads indirectly towards his death. Gatsby
believes in the “American Dream” of success, “the orgastic future”, including the
ideal “American woman”, who he believes is Daisy. She initially refuses to marry
him because he is not wealthy nor a “somebody” in Daisy’s mind. Yet, Gatsby
works long and hard to achieve the status that will be “good enough” for her.
His dream of her is genuine and innocent, clear as the green light on Daisy’s dock.
But when he finally meets her again after many long years of waiting, Nick says,
“There must have been times that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his
dreams. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up
in his ghostly heart.” Daisy is corrupted by wealth. Her lovely voice is filled with
money. Fitzgerald uses Daisy and her pride in money to show how Gatsby’s
dreams could never be fulfilled in her heartless world.
Although she wants to be with Gatsby, she and her husband, Tom are already
part of a “secret society” of established wealth. Fitzgerald reveals this “secret
society” in the following quote, “She looked at me with an absolute smirk on her
lovely face as if she had asserted her membership in a rather distinguished ’secret
society’ to which she and Tom belonged.” (page 22) Despite her knowledge that
she could never leave Tom for Gatsby, Daisy continues to accept “the attentions” of
Gatsby, avoiding his hope for the American Dream. Had Daisy honestly told
Gatsby that they could never be together, he would not have pursued her and
would have moved on with his life. In Daisy’s lack of honesty towards Gatsby, he
continued to follow his American Dream, unaware that it would result in his
death. In the end, Gatsby is shot by George Wilson with his dreams cut short and
Daisy drives George towards his madness and suicide due to her lack of
honesty. She simply “forgets” to tell him that she accidentally ran over his wife.
Going insane not knowing who has killed his wife, George blames Gatsby, the
wrong man for her death ,”‘Oh, my God!…He killed her…I have a way of finding
out…I’m one of those trusting fellas and I don’t think any harm to nobody, but
when I get to know a thing I know it.’” Concluding that Myrtle’s lover has killed
her, he sets out for revenge, killing the wrong person. Because of George’s
intolerable grief over his wife’s death, and overwhelming guilt of murdering an
innocent man, he takes his own life realizing he has nothing left to live for.
Daisy’s lack of honesty about the car accident resulted in George losing his sanity,
thus seeking revenge against who he thought was Myrtle’s “lover”. Had she been
upfront about the car accident, George would have kept his sanity along with his
life. Eventually, he would have gotten over Myrtle’s death and perhaps her
Daisy Buchanan runs her car over Myrtle, thereby killing her. To make the
situation worse, she keeps Mryrtle’s death to herself, as a result causing George’s
mental breakdown and suicide. Then she selfishly betrays Gatsby’s trust in
accomplishing his “American Dream”. Daisy Buchanan is a heartless woman, who
thinks that no harm will come to her in the misconceived society that she lives in.
If she had been careful in her actions, she could have prevented three innocent
people from dying.