In Chapter One of The Great Gatsby, Daisy expresses the hope that her newborn daughter will grow up to be a “fool.” Although this statement may seem odd coming from a mother, it is actually a social commentary. Daisy is keenly observant and knowledgeable about the norms and values of 1920s American society, which was deeply patriarchal and limited a woman’s worth to her physical attractiveness. In this context, Daisy’s hope that her daughter will be a “beautiful little fool” is her way of expressing a desire for her daughter to have a chance at gaining respect in a society that values women primarily for their looks.
Intelligence was also undervalued in women at that time, and Daisy, who is both intelligent and self-aware, knows firsthand the challenges of being a smart woman. She understands that reflective people are often more sensitive to the world’s heartaches, making them vulnerable to pain. For this reason, Daisy wants her daughter to be spared the pain that comes with being too introspective or analytical. She accepts the rules of the game and does not want her daughter to question the world or fall into despair, believing that this is the best way for her to survive in a society that does not value women’s intellect or agency.
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