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Psychological Disorder in the Great Gatsby

Good Essays
Katie Bell
Abnormal Psychology
Dr. Casada
2 December 2014

Histrionic Personality Disorder in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby spends his life building wealth in order to earn the love of Daisy Buchanan, a woman he loved in his younger years who could not marry him due to his lack of wealth. Daisy, though not a character with many appearances in the book (since Gatsby is the main character), is an extremely emotional character that just seems a bit off throughout the book. I believe that if Daisy were to visit a psychiatrist, she would be diagnosed with Histrionic Personality Disorder. To prove my assumption, I will cite instances where she exhibits symptoms of this and explain how they come
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People with Histrionic Personality Disorder do not limit their seduction to people with whom they have romantic interest, but it extends to a variety of social, occupational and professional relationships beyond what is appropriate for the social context.10

These people also display rapidly shifting and shallow emotions according to criterion 3.11 The narrator always mentions Daisy’s emotions with her quotes because they are always overly extravagant and shifting. For example, in one instance in the book, Daisy seems perfectly happy exploring the extravagant items in Gatsby’s house. “[She] took the brush with delight, and smoothed her hair…”12 In a matter of minutes, she begins to cry “stormily” into a pile of shirts, explaining “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.”13 Her emotions shift from one extreme to the other with no actual reason. They seem to be shallow emotions because she cannot explain them. In this particular instance, Gatsby’s attention had turned from her and to his extravagant clothes, so this bout of sudden sadness could simply be another cry for attention.

Criterion 4 points out that people with Histrionic Personality Disorder consistently use physical appearance to draw attention to themselves.14 This can be seen in the lavish outfits worn by Daisy. Although her outfits are rarely described in detail, the pieces mentioned always represent items included in an
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