Fear of Intimacy in Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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Relationships, specifically romantic relationships, play a very important part in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Upon reading Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, one will notice that there appears to be a behavioral pattern present in the relationships between Gatsby and Daisy, Daisy and Tom, and Nick and Jordan. As I explain in this paper, these relationships suffer from a fear of intimacy, a fear of the inevitable mutual emotional pain that occurs when humans grow close to one another. In the interest of clarity, let us first take a closer look at the theory that humans cannot grow close without harming one another, the theory known as the “hedgehog’s dilemma.” The concept of the hedgehog’s dilemma was first introduced by German …show more content…
Daisy, on the other hand, seems at first as though she truly does love and care for her husband. While Tom keeps himself at a distance in both relationships, Daisy seems to possess an outright need for his company. This is supported by Jordan’s recollection of Daisy’s behavior towards Tom after marrying him: “If he left the room for a minute she’d look around uneasily and say: ‘Where’s Tome gone?’ and wear the most abstracted expression until she saw him coming in the door. She used to sit on the sand with his head in her lap by the hour, rubbing her fingers over his eyes and looking at him with unfathomable delight” (Fitzgerald, 76-77). That being said, there are in fact several signs that point toward Daisy not loving her husband at all. Perhaps the most notable is her behavior just before her and Tom’s wedding ceremony, when she is found “lying on her bed as lovely as the June night in her flowered dress – and as drunk as a monkey. She had a bottle of Sauterne in one hand and [Gatsby’s] letter in the other” (76). Daisy goes so far as to even momentarily call off the marriage altogether, ordering the bridesmaids to “tell ‘em all Daisy’s change’ her mine. Say: ‘Daisy’s change’ her mine!’” (76). Why, then, does she marry Tom after all and seem so in love with him afterwards? People usually seek out partners who will make them happy, protect them from that which they fear, etc. What does Daisy fear? She
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