Societal Expectations and Their Effect on Those in Love
Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
Love is a common gold thread throughout the life of every person. It is especially
relevant for the characters in both F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Shyam
Selvadurai’s Cinnamon Gardens, where characters such as Daisy, Annalukshmi, Nick,
Balendran, and Tom find their lives torn apart by the relentless force of nature that is love. In
both F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Shyam Selvadurai’s Cinnamon Gardens, it is
evident that corruption of the great chain of being leads to unhappy relationships, be it filial,
platonic, romantic, or even excessive self love or hubris.
As soon as her daughter is born, Daisy is devastated, because she knows that society has
already determined her daughter’s fate. Daisy explains to Nick her unhappiness upon learning
not only of her pregnancy, but the sex of her child, “She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my
head away and wept. 'All right,' I said, 'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool—that's the
best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.’” (Fitzgerald, 18). Daisy’s love for her
daughter already causes her to feel grief, for she knows the great chain of being, which is the
societal ranking of different persons, will prevent her from realizing her true potential in life. In
the early 1900’s women have just been recognized as people, and it is therefore impossible for
Daisy’s daughter Pam to lead a fully satisfying existence. This will most likely make Daisy a
distant mother, so she can avoid putting herself in a painful situation when her daughter’s dreams
are inevitably crushed, leaving her daughter feeling unloved. The bond between a mother and
daughter is an extremely strong one, shown in Daisy and Pam, but also Annalukshmi and her
In general, Annalukshmi has a great internal struggle in regards to her plans for marriage.
Throughout the novel, she debates with herself the positives and negatives of such a fate, but
what she is consistently sure of is that it will ultimately be her decision. As soon as Annalukshmi
learns her father has plans for her to be married, and to a Hindu no less, she immediately makes
plans to escape to the countryside.
That evening, as Annalukshmi sat in the window-seat watching her mother busy
herself around the drawing room, she felt, for the first time, a sinking feeling at the
thought of having to deceive her. … there would be those few hours in the afternoon
when her mother would have no idea what happened to her. (Selvadurai, 193).
Annalukshmi’s filial love for her mother causes her heart to ache as as she plans to deceive her.
Society dictates that in this scenario, Annalukshmi has no say in her marriage prospects, because
her father, though absent, has chosen (a husband) for her. This causes a rift between
Annalukshmi and her mother Louisa, as the latter is unable to stand up to her miss...