Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

The Power of Love to Create and Destroy 

Love is portrayed as a complex force in Daisy Jones & the Six, holding the power to create meaning and save lives but also the power to inflict pain and sow destruction. Billy and Daisy are both saved yet thrown into chaos by love. After Billy loses himself in drugs and infidelity, it’s Camila’s faith in him and her unwavering love that leads him back to the life he recognizes. After rehab, he spends the rest of his life devoted to Camila, writing some of his best songs out of his love for her. At the same time, Billy is filled with doubt and he questions whether he's strong enough to be worthy of Camila’s love. When Daisy enters the picture, his love for her threatens to upend his entire life by imperiling his sobriety and his marriage. Daisy, in turn, is remade through falling in love with Billy. She begins to envision a different life for herself, one that isn’t defined by running away from pain but moving toward creative fulfillment and her dreams of a family. Though the romantic love between Billy and Daisy is impossible, it drives them both to create powerful, moving music that inspires thousands of fans. At the same time, however, their love creates turmoil and ultimately contributes to the dissolution of the band. 

Addiction As a Strategy to Avoid Both Joy and Pain 

Throughout the novel, characters use drugs and alcohol as a strategy to numb the pain, but addiction leads them to miss out on joy as well. Before he gets sober, Billy uses drugs to avoid his terror of becoming a bad father. However, this fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as his increasingly out-of-control drug use estranges him from his family and causes him to miss the rare joy of seeing the birth of his first daughter, Julia. Billy never gets over his regret about missing Julia’s birth and the first two months of her life. In getting sober, Billy deals with sometimes painful emotions, but he also reclaims his creative power and his place in his family. 

Similarly, Daisy uses drugs to avoid her feelings. Starting at a very young age, she begins taking pills to avoid the pain of being neglected by her parents and sexually used by men who don’t care about her. This pattern continues throughout her life, and Daisy’s behavior when she’s sad tends to look very similar to her behavior when she’s celebrating because, in either case, she simply gets high. For example, she gets high when she can’t handle the pain of being in love with Billy and she also gets high when she is over the moon about joining The Six. Both Daisy and Billy learn that sobriety leaves them grappling with painful emotions but also gives them a life worth living. 

The Danger and Power of Defying Gender Expectations 

Throughout the novel, women defy gender expectations in ways that both contribute to their success and make them a target of scorn. Daisy often ignores the ways women are expected to act. For example, though she receives increased attention from men and judgment from women, she dresses exactly the way she wants to, refusing to conform to other people’s ideas of what’s appropriate. This contributes to her success in many ways, but it also confuses or even infuriates some men in her life. For example, Hank doesn’t take her seriously as an artist and tries to control her, and the record executives see her merely as a pretty face and ignore her songs.  

Karen, on the other hand, changes the way she dresses in order to be taken more seriously in the male-dominated music industry. And yet,  Karen flouts other social expectations for women such as being uninterested in motherhood, which the men close to her, especially Graham, find it difficult to accept. This threatens her social support system and directly contributes to her breakup with Graham. Camila, too, refuses to play the stereotypical role of the betrayed wife. Though Billy’s infidelity and his love of Daisy is heartbreaking to Camila, she retains her power in their relationship by maintaining unwavering faith in his love for her. This is a risky move, one that could cost her her future or sow even greater heartache. Rather than getting angry or vengeful, however, Camila responds with radical love, and in so doing, she saves both Billy and Daisy from themselves.