Compare and Contrast: Passage 1: Description of Tom, Passage 2: Gatsby
The first passage is a description of Tom. He is portrayed as strongly
built: "It was a body capable of enormous leverage-a cruel body." He
also seems to be a brutal an supercilious man. Words as "arrogant",
"sturdy", "gruff" and "husky" create a mood around him which is quite
unpleasant. This description is very objective and we get a clear
picture of what Tom looks like. We are also given a description of
Tom's voice as being "...a gruff, husky tenor..."
The other passage is not really a description of Mr Gatsby, but rather
an occasion which he fits into. The description we are given about
Gatsby is much more unclear than that of Tom. The night makes the
atmosphere more mysterious around Gatsby. Here words as "night",
"trembling", "silhouette" and "dark" set the theme of the passage.
There is a clear contrast in the themes between the two passages. In
the first one 'day' or 'light' can be said to be a theme in comparison
to the 'night' or 'darkness' in the other.
Even though the description of Tom is quite objective, the sunshine
and clearness has a high symbolic importance to the passage and makes
it more of a contrast to the other passage. This sunshine could be
there because Tom is an antagonist in the novel, thus his description
should not be complicated as, for example Gatsby's. Thereby he is
connected to unambiguousness, whereas Gatsby is connected to darkness
and implying that his character will be revealed later on.
The sunshine which is connected to Tom could mean that his character
is exposed and open for everyone to look at. This could be connected
to that his characteristics are those of a fascist prototype that have
nothing to hide and are proud to show themselves anywhere they go.
This personality which Tom is part of does also seem quite primitive
and animalistic: He does what his needs and emotions demands of him
and he does not seem to hide secrets. This compared to the character
of Gatsby which seems to be more complicated and untrustworthy. Tom is
a more physical than mental character.
Gatsby is on the other hand connected to the night and is a therefore
a contrast to Tom. When Tom can be seen in the light, Gatsby
"vanishes" in the dark. Hence he is a mysterious character, like a cat
and it is interesting to note that there is a cat...