The central theme is a comparison of the corrupting influence of wealth to the purity of a dream. Tom and Daisy Buchanan both lead purposeless lives that are filled with corruption through wealth, while Gatsby lives his life striving towards his dreams. They all either have no purpose in life to begin with or lose all purpose and values due the actions of another. All of the wealthy characters, including Gatsby, use people and things and then discard them as trash.. Tom is probably leads the most purposeless life out of the three with no career.
He spends his day’s playing with polo ponies and race cars. He has one affair after another and treats his mistresses of these affairs as if they were only toys. When he realizes that Daisy if having an affair with Gatsby he becomes enraged and comes back to his wife. After Daisy kills Myrtle they fleet together, neither claiming any responsibility for her death. This all shows that Tom is leading a purposeless life with no long-term goals or dreams. Daisy, who is born and marries to wealth, also has no real values or purpose in life. She spends her life floating from one social scene to the next with, with all things about her resembling her money. She treats everyone, including her daughter, as toys that she uses for her entertainment. She goes off and has an affair with Gatsby simply to relieve her boredom.
Even with all the money and possessions Daisy has no thoughts of what she will do with her purposeless life. Gatsby is the only one of the three who is not corrupted by his wealth. Although he has a large mansion, drives flashy cars, and gives extravagant parties, he has amassed none of it for himself. Everything he has achieved in life he has done to fulfill his dream, to prove to Daisy that he is worthy of her. When Daisy shatters his dreams by choosing Tom over him, Gatsby has no need for his possessions.
Once he loses Daisy, Gatsby also begins going through life with no purpose. All of the wealthy characters, including Gatsby, use people and things and then discard them as if they meant nothing to them. Tom uses Myrtle and George Wilson, never realizing how his actions impact those around him. Gatsby uses butlers for his lavish parties and uses his possessions to get Daisy. Daisy uses her possessions as toys and uses Gatsby as a way to relieve her boredom. This shows how the American dream has vanished, people are so into chasing money they have forgotten human values, leaving them without purpose.