There are people that believe that happy endings and easy love are not possible. Two classic authors portray this belief by creating sly antagonists that destroy the possible happy endings of the people around them. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway create strong female characters in The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises that have contrasting personalities but both destroy the hope of love for the men that surround them. In Fitzgerald’s novel Daisy is a rich young woman who is soft spoken yet self-destructive because of her constant need for security.
Brett is a strong, out-spoken woman in The Sun Also Rises, who has destructive affairs with many men and ultimately leaves them. Both characters are different in the way they behave but are also similar in their destructive tendencies.
At first impression it can be seen that Brett and Daisy have different personalities; Brett is a flirty, modern women while Daisy is the charming, quiet, more reserved woman.
Brett is first introduced entering a bar with a group men; “She looked very lovely and she was very much with them” (Hemingway 28). Brett embraces the freedom women have; she goes out with a group of men for a good time and does not think badly about it. Brett, with her seductive grin and flirty outings, is the exact opposite of Daisy, who with a vibrant smile is as delicate as a flower. When Nick first meets Daisy, she is dressed in white and leans “slightly forward with a conscientious expression” to say hello and speaks in a murmur “only to make people lean towards her” (Fitzgerald13). Daisy is charming and dignified, a woman who lives with old money and old traditions. Daisy and Brett come from different worlds: one lives in a loose society while the other never makes a scene and keeps her thoughts to herself.
Brett and daisy are both surrounded by men, but while Brett acts like a man Daisy acts fragile and refined. Brett drinks, smokes and talks the same way men do, saying “shove it along” when a conversation gets annoying and she watches “fascinated” as a steer gets gored (Hemingway 170, 144). Brett has the same confidence and morals of a man; not once does she think it would inappropriate to drink more liquor and be more intrigued of blood than women should be. Though Brett is confident in the way she behaves and acts, daisy is not. Daisy always follows anyone how gives her the most security, in fact the only reason she started to love Gatsby before he went off was because he
had “deliberately given daisy a sense of security” (Fitzgerald 156). Also when things get bad she would quietly begin “drawing further and further into herself” (Fitzgerald 142). Daisy can’t handle extreme situations and always worries about the state of her future, only looking for what security people can provide her. Brett becomes most vocal in bad situations and does not concern herself with worries like what a lady should do, while daisy becomes silent in bad situations and always worries about her security.
Brett and Daisy are diverse in the way they behave, although when it comes to their lack of ethics they are the same. Though Brett was with Mike she would go off to have affairs with other men not caring that it would harm her relationship with him. When Cohn came to meet Jake and Bill at the fiesta he was aggravating towards Mike because “Brett had been with him at San Sebastian” (Hemingway 100). Brett did not think of the consequences to Mike when she slept with a man everyone associates with, revealing that she didn’t have any morals when it came to her promiscuity. Daisy, who held her life above another’s, also did not have strong ethics. When a woman came in front of the car she was driving she “turned away from the woman toward the other car and then she lost her nerve and turned back” and after she “didn’t even stop” (Fitzgerald 151, 147). By driving into the other car Daisy realizes that she would probably lose her life so she veered back to hit the woman and didn’t slow down or stop. She killed someone else rather than hurting herself and did not want to face any responsibility afterwards. Brett and Daisy only really care for themselves and have no other principles outside of that, whether it is the feelings of another or a life of another.
Both women have similar destructive natures, whether it is seducing men or devastating someone’s life. Never settling in with one man, Brett always starts a relationship with a new man whenever she can. After the affair with Cohn, while she is still in a relationship with Mike, she starts to fall for Romero; all the while complaining to Jake that she does “feel such a bitch” (Hemingway 188). Brett is destructive because she destroys Mike’s confidence in her and hurts her chances of ever having a healthy, lasting relationship. Daisy is the same way; she only looks out for herself when she realizes that Gatsby doesn’t provide her with the security that she thought he could give.
After she realizes that he didn’t have a stable income, she leaves him and goes back to her cheating husband. Nick later describes Daisy and her husband, who come from rich families and looks out specifically for themselves, as “careless people- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money” (Fitzgerald 187-188). Daisy destroyed Gatsby’s hope to have a happy ending with the women he loved when she left him and retreated back to a secure future with her unfaithful husband. Both Daisy and Brett destroy the hope of love from men who only want a happy ending. Brett and Daisy are vastly different people with two significant similar characteristics. Their destructiveness and lack of ethics are harmful not only to themselves but to everyone around them. However they never face these two faults they have. Brett, after leaving Romero, says to Jake that they “would have had such a good time together” (Hemingway 251). The implication is that had Jake not been injured, she would have stayed with him and would not be sleeping with other. Brett uses Jake as a scapegoat, she is deluding to herself to insinuate that she wouldn’t be promiscuous if he did not have his injury. In reality Brett would not change her ways. Daisy, similarly selfish, had the chance to save some one over her own well being but she didn’t, and afterwards she runs away from the problem. She runs from the scene of the crime by continuing to drive and not looking back, and she runs from the after math of the event moving out of the police’s reach of investigation. Both Brett and Daisy go through life differently, one acts outgoing and the other more resigned and subtle, but both never try to change or even face there flaws. The reason neither character finds true happiness is not only because they have a destructive nature or because they were selfish, but because they do not want to change. They avoid introspection and because of that they do not have a chance to develop into a better person. They ruin what could be love and a happy ending for the men that care for them and do care to stop to think how much they are hurting that person.
Work Cited Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. Print. Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner, 2003. Print.
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