“Even alone I can’t say I never loved Tom,” she admitted in a pitiful voice. “It wouldn’t be true.”

from F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (Chapter VII) on Rap Genius

Meaning

Time v. Love
Although Daisy is having a heated conversation with Tom and Gatsby, her comments during the conversation almost seem to serve as an internal monologue. Daisy is conflicted about her feelings concerning Gatsby and Tom because she recognizes how her definition of love has changed over time. Her marriage to Tom initially was a marriage of convenience because Tom promised great social status and wealth. Conversely, Gatsby and Daisy’s love started as pure admiration for each other.

However, after Gatsby returned from war, he decided to become a man that was good enough to provide Daisy with the wealth and status she was accustomed to. During this time, Daisy was already growing into her life with Tom, and essentially learning to love him instead of Gatsby. As Tom states during this conversation, Daisy and him have many fond memories of fun vacations and simply being with each other. Tom’s “tragic flaw” is that he is a man of society and sees the world in terms of old wealth and class. Yet in this passage, Fitzgerald demonstrates a more vulnerable side to Tom because, in his own way, Tom tries to convey the emotions he has towards Daisy and still wants her love. Daisy attests to the fact that Tom is not a completely negative man and that she did love Tom. Thus, the reconciliation Gatsby wants between himself and Daisy is almost impossible. There is a history between Tom and Daisy that cannot be denied.

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