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Great Gatsby

By serlyandrias May 18, 2013 1038 Words
Serly Andrias
Period 5
April 25, 2013
Contrast Gatsby and Tom
People should be defined by their beliefs, values, and interests which vary from experiences they have had in life. However, the main factor that defines how worthy a man is for Daisy is their wealth rather than their attributions. The plot of The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald is mainly revolved around Tom and Gatsby’s love for Daisy and the struggles that comes with it. Tom and Gatsby are both very different characters from the way they communicate with the other characters to the way they express their love for Daisy. Tom and Gatsby individually have different beliefs and values throughout the story; however, share one interest that unfortunately neither feels they are able to fully grasp. Throughout the story, Gatsby was symbolized by many different characteristics and factors which made us judge him on the type of person he was. Gatsby was known for throwing lavish parties and never being apart of them which made him very mysterious and this was appealing to Daisy. He was wealthy enough to throw these parties for the only purpose of entertaining others and would not enjoy them himself. He took these parties as the time to gain a social title and not actually allow people to get to see the real colors he tends to hide. Gatsby also had this imaginary life with Daisy he only dreamt of which made it difficult for her to live up to his expectations. This imaginary life would only linger and make it more difficult for Daisy; therefore, they never worked out. After seeing Daisy’s child with Tom, Nick says, “Gatsby and I in turn leaned down and took the small, reluctant hand. Afterward he kept looking at the child with surprise. I don't think he had ever really believed in its existence before.”(Fitzgerald 102). Gatsby had been so infatuated with Daisy the whole time that when he met her daughter it was a wake up call reminding him that she was married to Tom and that was their daughter. Gatsby proves he is more noble than Tom when he stands up and says to Tom, “She never loved you do you hear?”(Fitzgerald 131). He proves that he will stand up for the woman he loves whereas Tom would have never stood up for his own wife. Tom is an ignorant man who reacts on impulse and does not care what people think of him. He proves it when he punches Myrtle in the nose just for angering him. This shows that Tom has no respect for women and believes that men are superior. Tom is introduced in the story as Daisy’s unfaithful husband and as Nick’s ostentatious friend. Tom symbolizes the stereotype of the rich because he spends his time with cars and race horses while having an affair with Mr. Wilson’s wife. Nick describes Tom by saying, “His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked—and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts.”(Fitzgerald 24). This quote proves that Tom wasn’t liked throughout the story and Nick describes Tom as acting like a father which shows that he thought he was superior to everyone else. However, he has not done anything to earn the money he flaunts whereas Gatsby fought his way up on the social bars and is new to the upper class. Moreover, Tom has a social title of being a powerful individual with enormous wealth that Gatsby tries so hard to gain. Tom has a strong, tone body from playing football at Yale; unfortunately, he misuses his strength when he punches Myrtle’s nose just because she said Daisy’s name. Myrtle is very different from Daisy because she is not weak nor is she rich; therefore, Tom feels more comfortable expressing his anger with her and mistreats Daisy instead. Tom finally expresses how he feels about Gatsby when he points out, “Self-control!" repeated Tom incredulously. "I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if that's the idea you can count me out […] Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white." (Fitzgerald 135). Tom is contradicting himself when he begins to talk about family life because he is abusing and cheating on his wife which is not the way a real man would treat his family. I believe Gatsby is more idealistic than Tom because he actually has a goal in life which is to be with Daisy for the rest of his life whereas; Tom does not have any goals. Gatsby is also is not aggressive and would never hurt Daisy the way Tom does hence the reason why Daisy enjoys his company which will only linger as the temperature in the oven only gets hotter.

By the end of the story, Tom receives the happiness and relief after Gatsby’s death he has been wanting since the beginning. He told Mr. Wilson that it was Gatsby’s car that hit Myrtle but he did not mention that it was Daisy driving. Before Gatsby died, Nick characterized his state of mind by saying, "He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is...A new world...where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about" (Fitzgerald 161). Gatsby is described as being in the state of seclusion and hopelessness and the sky, leaves, and roses are all portrayed as gloomy items. His dreams are also are “breathed” away after all the chaotic events that had taken place. Fortunately, Gatsby has the characteristic of keeping calm and composed through tribulations, unlike Tom. This symbolizes Gatsby’s failure in the competition between the rivalry of his enemy, Tom, and the failure of not being able to spend his life with Daisy. Tom’s power and control over people guided everyone’s lives in the direction of Gatsby’s death and his happiness over the outcome.

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