The Great Gatsby (Compare and contrast Gatsby and Tom)

July 28, 2018 General Studies

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, we are presented with two very different but similar men, Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby, who find themselves stuck in a love triangle with the desirable Daisy. In the novel, Gatsby tries to win her over while her husband, Tom, tries to turn her away from him, in order to have her for himself. Despite the fact that they are both wealthy and well settled, Daisy chooses to be with Tom over her long lost love because she and he are better suited for each other, Gatsby’s expectations of her are too high, and she wants to maintain her social status.

To begin with, Daisy and Tom are very alike, in many ways. They are both from the same world; the world of Old Money. Tom’s family has been wealthy for many years, therefore when Daisy is introduced to him, she jumps at the opportunity to marry a man who is able to give her the life she is used to. On the other hand, Gatsby, who is New Money, is not as wealthy as Daisy desires. In addition, Tom and Daisy are both self-centered, and they portray your typical rich couple. Daisy is the foolish but appealing wife, while Tom is the buff and forceful husband. Given these points, it is clear that Daisy has more in common with her spouse than she has with Jay.

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Furthermore, Gatsby wants too much from Daisy. She feels like she cannot live up to his expectations, as she states in chapter 7: “Oh, you want too much! I love you now – isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past. I did love him once – but I loved you too.” Here, she starts to realize the pressure she is being put under, and that all Gatsby really wants is to bring back the past, when what she wants is to figure out the future. He wants to go back to how things were five years ago, while she just wants a new beginning. Thus, they both do not have the same goals in life or even relationship-wise, which is another reason why her and Tom are a better fit and why she should choose to stay with him.

Finally, social status is really important to Daisy. In both social and economic ways, Tom surpasses Gatsby. He is well-liked around town and he is Old Money, or in other words, is of upper class. Comparatively, Gatsby, who is rich as well, is New Money, meaning his family was not and is still not wealthy. Jay’s money comes from an illegal activity also known as bootlegging, whereas Tom inherited his money from past generations. That being, she has to stay with him in order to maintain this rank in social hierarchy.

In conclusion, Daisy chooses Tom over Gatsby for several reasons. If he was not so expectant of her, had an established family, and had similar traits and goals, she would have an easier decision to make. As a result, Gatsby does not get his prize possession and his lover flees to Europe with her significant other. But if Jay was not blinded by what seems to be true love, could he persuade Daisy to fall in love with him for the right reasons, and choose him over Tom?


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