Comparing Tom Buchanan And Jay Gatsby Of The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1449 words - 6 pages

“Two sides of the same coin,” is a commonly heard English saying used to describe two items that seem very different from each other but in reality share a number of similarities. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates this idea in his novel, The Great Gatsby, when he introduces the characters Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. At first glance, both characters may seem like polar opposites. However, with a closer analysis, one can see that they are more alike than meets the eye. Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby share many ideas on the value of money, love, and the American dream, but their ways of approaching these concepts differ greatly.
One of the first things our narrator, Nick Carraway, tells us about ...view middle of the document...

However, this is not the case. Although neither of the men care about how they spend and waste their money, their money serves a different purpose for each of them. For Gatsby, his wealth is used to mask his past. Not many people know where his money came from, and even though there has been some speculation, no one really cares as long as he continues to throw his parties. Gatsby’s money prevents everyone from seeing who he really is - a man involved in the boot-legging business who was desperate to get rich quick. Gatsby also uses his money in an attempt to win Daisy over. He was born from a poor family who did not have much money. This was the primary reason Daisy did not wait for him while he went off to war and chose to marry Tom instead. Because of this, Gatsby was forced to use illegal means of making money in order to lure Daisy back to him. Unlike Jay Gatsby, who has new money, Tom Buchannan possesses old money. Money has been in his family for ages, and he has grown accustomed to the lifestyle of the rich and takes full advantage of it. Tom uses his money as a moral excuse. While he expects the people around him to act in a respectful manner, he is rude, unmoral, and hypocritical. An example of this is on page 131 when Tom confronts Daisy and Gatsby on their affair, “And what’s more I love Daisy too. Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back and in my heart I love her all the time.” Tom finally admits to his affairs but does not tolerate Daisy to act the same way. He believes that money justifies all of the sins he commits. Money insulates him. Both men use their wealth to protect themselves, but their needs of protection are different.
Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchannan also share the same views on love. They both claim to be in love with the same woman, Daisy, yet neither of them is actually in love with her. Tom, who is Daisy’s husband, is more in love with the power and reputation that he has when with Daisy. Before finding out about Daisy’s affair, Tom was perfectly content with his life. He had numerous affairs going on and did not even realize the growing distance between him and Daisy until he saw the way she acted with Gatsby. Even then, Tom did not act because of love. Instead, he acted because of possessiveness. He was upset because Daisy was supposed to be his, but someone else was taking her away from him. As a man who got everything he had ever wanted, Tom could not stand this idea. On the other hand, Gatsby is in love with Daisy as a young fan might be in love with a celebrity. He is more in love with the idea and image of Daisy he has created for himself than the actual person. On page 150, Nick describes Gatsby’s thoughts towards Daisy as, “overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes, and of...

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