The Great Gatsby: Chapter 7

DaisyOf all the characters, I’m anxious to see Carey Mulligan’s portrayal of Daisy Buchanan. Her part will be the most difficult to play. She is the woman Gatsby has been dreaming about for five years. Even Nick, her cousin, seems to be infatuated with her as well. He pays particular attention to describing her voice in Chapter 1:

            I’ve heard it said that Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lean toward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming.

. . .

            I looked back at my cousin who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth–but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.

Throughout the novel, comments about her enticing voice spark curiosity, but also confusion. What could be so charming about it?

It’s not until Chapter 7 that Gatsby identifies the nature of her alluring voice:

            “She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of–“

            I hesitated.

            “Her voice is full of money,” [Gatsby] said suddenly.

            That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money–that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it. . . . High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl. . .

The magical quality of her voice is money, according to Gatsby, but it’s so much more. Daisy’s voice is the sound that calls to him at night, promising him love and security, but delivering death and destruction with her siren’s song.

Carey Mulligan has big shoes to fill, but I will try not to anticipate perfection; Gatsby proves there is nothing to be gained from that.

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