The Great Gatsby-Compare/Contrast Gatsby and Tom and Explain Why Daisy Stayed with Tom

9 September 2016

In this time period the war has just finished and the people are living in a time of prosperity and celebration. The novel takes place in New York City where the ‘old rich’ and ‘new rich’ live in two separate islands named ‘East Egg’ and ‘West Egg’. Jay Gatsby, who was formerly James Gatz, was the child of “shiftless and unsuccessful farm people” (The Great Gatsby book page 94) and who dreamed of something bigger in his life. He wanted to break free from his parents and become wealthy. This dream intensified after he met Daisy and fell in love with her wealth, class, and sophistication.

It was then that he decided he would do whatever it took to woe Daisy and make her his wife. He returned from the war to find that she had not waited for him as she said she would, and had married the wealthy Tom Buchanan instead. His situation, unlike Tom Buchanan, was that of a poor man who could only work his way to the class of the ‘new rich’ and was therefore unable to reach Daisy’s sophisticated class. Tom Buchanan, on the other hand, lived his life in luxury, enjoying the riches of his parents.

The Great Gatsby-Compare/Contrast Gatsby and Tom and Explain Why Daisy Stayed with Tom Essay Example

He had an easy life, and was used to controlling everything around him and being the one in power. In the book he is often portrayed negatively and described as being cruel. To him, Daisy was someone up to his standards and in league with his higher class. He had no troubles in getting the woman he wanted, and this is probably the greatest difference of all between Gatsby and Tom. Tom was the one who had the girl, the class, and the easy life, while Gatsby was the one who worked, though illegally, for his wealth and who never got the girl of his dreams.

Though these two characters come from different backgrounds and are of different classes, it can be noticed that they are similar in various ways. One distinctive characteristic that they both seem to share is an unwillingness to accept defeat. Gatsby, who through out the story is trying to win Daisy over, cannot stand the fact that Daisy has moved on and refuses to accept that there is no way to change the situation. Tom also refuses to let go of Daisy when he finds out that she is having an affair with Gatsby, and instead decides to confront Gatsby and Daisy about this.

Another way in which they are similar is that they both feel the need to be in control. Gatsby wishes to recreate the past or turn back time; he wishes he could control time itself. This is evident when Nick confronts him about the situation and tries to reason with him by saying, “You can’t repeat the past” (page 106). “‘Can’t repeat the past? ’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can! ’” (Page 106) is how Gatsby chooses to reply to Nick. This is one of the things that destroys him in the end when he realizes that his dream is slipping away, and that it is not possible to bring back the past.

Daisy, after finding out the truth behind Gatsby’s wealth, begins to lose her resolve about leaving Tom for him. His loss of control over the situation is what makes him lose himself and lash out at Tom by saying that Daisy never loved him after Tom calls him “a common swindler who’d have to steal the ring he put on her (Daisy’s) finger” (Page 127). Tom also displays similar characteristics when faced with a loss of control when he realizes that his wife, Daisy, is having an affair with Gatsby. He speaks to Gatsby with an open hostility that up until then was hidden behind a social, civil facade. ‘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 the next they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white. ’”(Page 124) This shows that the moment he loses control over his wife, he lets go completely of any social pretenses he had been putting up before and reveals just how prejudiced and racist he is.

Not only does he look down on Gatsby due to his class, but also on all black people due to his belief that he is better than everyone else. Gatsby and Tom also both do whatever they want without thinking of the consequences. In Gatsby’s pursuit of Daisy, who is a married woman with a child, he blatantly disregards the fact that if he succeeds in wooing Daisy, he will have ruined a marriage and left a child to deal with an unstable home. Tom also disregards the importance of his own family and has several affairs.

It is actually ridiculous that he expects Daisy to remain faithful to him when he wasn’t even faithful to her on their honeymoon. Even though Tom and Gatsby share these characteristics, they are also unalike one another in several ways. Even though Gatsby gained his wealth by illegal means, he still carries a kind of gentlemanly courteousness that makes it hard to dislike him. When the author introduces Gatsby in the book, it can be noticed that he is a shy, introverted person who means well. He has a goal that he is trying to reach in his life and this gives him a seriousness that Tom lacks.

He has meaning in his life; a purpose, and unlike the rest of the characters in the book other than Nick, he was deep. Tom is a brute. He’s racist, sexist, self-centered, and, most importantly, shallow. These are statements that are made throughout the book. Daisy says exactly this when she discovers a bruise on her knuckles: “‘you did it, Tom,’ she said accusingly. ‘I know you didn’t mean to, but you did it. That’s what I get for marrying a brute of a man. A great, big, hulking physical specimen of a-” is what she said before she was cut off by Tom, who said that he hated the word hulking (Page 17).

This shows that he at least has some consciousness of the fact that he is a brute and he dislikes being called one. This is something that really separates Tom and Gatsby, as unlike Tom, Gatsby decides to do something about the things he doesn’t like about himself and he constantly works for self-improvement. Also, his sexist views are apparent when he says, “By God, I may be old-fashioned in my ideas, but women run around too much these days to suit me. They meet all kinds of crazy fish,” after finding out that Daisy knows Gatsby.

This is incredibly unfair and sexist due to the fact that he himself is having an affair, yet complains about his wife having a mere acquaintance who just so happens to be a man. After looking through the similarities and differences between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby, it is easy to understand why Daisy fell for the both of them. They have several similar qualities that relate to each other. Maybe she fell in love with Tom due to his resemblance in characteristics to Gatsby, though his manners may have been lacking, and accepted him as a replacement that had the benefit of status with money.

Even so, most people find it hard to understand why she would stay with Tom when he treats her so poorly and Gatsby is right there; this can be easily explained. Daisy, though she had feelings for Gatsby, was too obsessed with status and class to leave Tom for Gatsby. She did not like that Gatsby’s money was made illegally, and she didn’t want people to look down on her. Moreover, she was a shallow person. She cared more about class and status than she did about love.

Her own characteristics and overall attitude fit perfectly with Tom, and they deserved each other. Though Gatsby worked harder than Tom and tried to better himself, unlike Tom, he ended up being murdered in the end while Tom ended up with Daisy. Maybe that was Fitzgerald’s way of displaying to us what happens when you don’t try to think about and care for yourself. Or maybe it was to show how his dream was his downfall. Either way, in agreement with what Nick said, Gatsby was too good for Daisy, and it’s just sad that he didn’t see it.

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