Gatsby vs Tom

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 24 October 2016

Gatsby vs Tom

In The Great Gatsby the author describes Gatsby and Daisy’s husband Tom- and as he depicts their characteristics, the reader is able to observe similarities and differences between them. The similarities I’m going to discuss are their desire for success and social status, their determination for the things they desire, and their hatred for one another. The differences that contrast these similarities are their desire for success and social status for different reasons, the type of wealth, and their personality types.

In the end, despite Tom’s negative light, Daisy chooses him over Gatsby ultimately due to security and the higher value of Tom’s old money. The two characters, Tom and Gatsby, both value success and social status highly. One way they show this, is by insulting those less wealthy, or demeaning the social status of others. Tom belittles the social status and “new money” of Gatsby in the following quote; “She’s not leaving me! ” Tom’s words suddenly leaned down over Gatsby. “Certainly not for a common swindler who’d have to steal the ring he put on her finger. (pg. 131) in saying this, Tom degrades Gatsby wealth, comparing him to a “common swindler”.

Manny of Toms jabs to Jay were from a financial standpoint, indicating that without wealth there is a large amount of disrespect. Gatsby valued success and social status because it was the only way he would win the approval of Daisy, this can be observed here; “That huge place there? ” she cried pointing. “Do you like it? ”(Gatsby) “I love it, but I don’t see how you live there all alone. ” (Daisy) “I keep it always full of interesting people, night and day.

People who do interesting things. Celebrated people. ” (Gatsby) (pg. 90). In the mentioned conversation between Daisy and Gatsby, Gatsby both flaunts his wealth to Daisy (“huge place”) and also boasts his social status by indicating that important people and “Celebrated people” are constant visitors to him. Another similarity between the two men is that they are both determined to have what they desire. Gatsby desires Daisy and her love. Throughout the novel, Gatsby had been driven to success in order to win Daisy, who he had fallen in love with.

Gatsby says to Tom “Your wife doesn’t love you, said Gatsby. She never loved you. She loves me”. (pg. 130) In this quote, Gatsby tries to convince Tom that his love is returned by Daisy, and he is completely determined to take him out of the picture. Tom desires her for perfect trophy wife, as someone to both help prove his wealth and share it with him. Tom shows his passion for Daisy in the quote “But all the rest of that’s a God damned lie. Daisy loved me when she married me and she loves me now. ”(pg. 31) He is not the passive sort of person who would let Gatsby take his wife, he stands up for himself and their marriage in Gatsby and Tom’s confrontation. The final similarity that will be discussed is that they both have hatred toward one another.

Proof of Tom’s hate and aggression towards Gatsby is shown in the quote ” I can’t speak about what happened five years ago, because I didn’t know Daisy then — and I’ll be damned if I see how you got within a mile of her unless you brought the groceries to the back door” (pg. 31) Tom in this quote insults Gatsby’s “new money” wealth by suggesting him to have been working at a low status position 5 years ago. Proof of the returned hate from Gatsby is shown in the following line “She never loved you, do you hear? He cried. “She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me. It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved any one except me! ” (pg. 130) In this quote, Gatsby indicated Tom to be her second choice, and a terrible mistake on her part. This concludes the three similarities between Tom and Gatsby, next, the differences between the two will be discussed.

Though Gatsby and Tom both value wealth and social status, they have different drives for these successes. Gatsby valued these because he believed that with fortune he can win over Daisy’s love. “Her voice is full of money” Gatsby said. (pg. 120) This quote shows that money is something Daisy has been brought up on, and is shown in her mannerisms and behaviors. Due to this, Gatsby can see that the way to fit into Daisy’s world and be what she needs, is to have this wealth as well, and adopt the lifestyle surrounding it. Wealth was important to Gatsby because Daisy was important to him.

Tom values wealth and social status because he was raised believing it was the most important thing, and it surrounded his upbringing. Money got him everything he wanted, pristine education, lots of friends, and Daisy. “His family was enormously wealthy—even in collage his freedom with money was a matter of reproach. ” (pg. 6). The types of wealth the two men have are different as well, and have large implications socially. Gatsby has what is called “new money”. He didn’t inherit his wealth; in fact he came from poverty and worked his way upward into higher social status.

He struggled and worked hard to get everything he has. This is proven through the fact that Jay had to work through his University education, whereas Tom, brought up with money, had his tuition taken care of without any work by him. Tom, in contrast to Gatsby, comes from what is called “old money”. This is money that had been given to him through family inheritance, requiring no work. Tom had everything come easy to him, and required no struggle or hard work. Being predisposed to wealth, in the way that Tom was, gave him a great head start on life that Gatsby never had.

Lastly, their personality types are overall very different. Tom has the traits and shows the behaviors of being dominant, athletic, and brutish These traits are shown in the following passage, while conversing with Mrs. Wilson, he shows aggressiveness and a short temper when he strikes her ; ““Daisy! Daisy! Daisy! ” shouted Mrs. Wilson. “I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai___”. Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand. ”. (pg. 37) Gatsby is sympathetic and caring, taking the blame for the murder, being the better man.

Gatsby sacrificed everything he had worked so hard for, the social status and success, all in the end to trade for Daisy, whom he loved. “Was Daisy driving? I inquired. Yes, He said after a moment, but of course I’ll say I was. ” (pg. 143) Gatsby is a man of moral strength, unlike Tom. Old money seems to weaken characteristics of morals, making their personalities selfish and arrogant, contrast to those of new money, who had worked hard for what they had. This is the final difference between the two men that will be discussed.

Despite the negative light Tom is portrayed, Daisy chooses him over Gatsby because Daisy was comfortable with her life with Tom. She knew his money would never run out, though Gatsby’s once did- “I thought you inherited your money. ” “I did, old sport,” he said automatically, “but I lost most of it in the big panic — the panic of the war. ” (pg. 90); Tom informed Daisy that Gatsby was only a bootlegger and that his money was not reliable; “her eyes told that whatever intentions, whatever courage she had, were definitely gone. (pg. 135). This quote shows that as Tom began to show Gatsby in this way, bringing his “new money” issues to light, she wanted to leave Tom less and less. She lets Tom make the decisions for her.

She had been used to her life being a certain way – she follows certain rules, she expects certain rewards – and when Gatsby challenges her to break free of these restraints, she can’t deal with the overwhelming break from routine and confides back to Tom and the lifestyle she knows. “You want too much! She cried to Gatsby. I love you now—isn’t that enough? Tom moments later said “You start on home, Daisy” said Tom, “In Mr. Gatsby’s car” She looked at Tom, alarmed now, but he insisted with Magnanimous scorn. Go on, He won’t annoy you. I think he realizes that his presumptuous little flirtation is over”. Tom knew he had control of Daisy now. She was scared of change and possible loss of her luxurious lifestyle, and she decided not to leave the security of wealth that was Tom. Throughout this discussion we saw the comparison in the two men Gatsby and Tom.

Similarities were shown between them, regarding their value in success and social status, their determination to get a hold of what they desire, and their hatred toward each other. The differences observed between the two characters was then their different drives for wealth, their different types of money, old and new, and their opposing personalities. Despite Tom’s negativity, Daisy being the weaker character, ultimately chose Tom, as she could not let go of her secure lifestyle, she could not risk ever being poor, she decides she must go with what she knows, and she chooses Tom over Gatsby.


  • Subject:

  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 24 October 2016

  • Words:

  • Pages:

We will write a custom essay sample on Gatsby vs Tom

for only $16.38 $12.9/page

your testimonials