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Tom And Gatsby, The Perfect Foils Of Each Other?

1473 words - 6 pages

Tom and Gatsby, the perfect foils of each other?
It is commonly believed that all those who are wealthy adhere to a similar set of values, characteristics and have similar lifestyles. Fitzgerald provides the reader a clear view through the eyes of Nick Caraway of the differences and similarities that can be found between wealthy people in the roaring Twenties. Two characters that are very important to the story are Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan. Fitzgerald created two purposefully different characters- one that is easily despised, the other that although not perfect, is likeable- and united them in their love for money, the power that comes with it , and their haunt for the ultimate prize – ...view middle of the document...

As if that quote alone was not enough, Tom’s chat with Nick while giving him a tour of his house provides sufficient backup. He opens up the tour by saying “I’ve got a nice place here” (Fitzgerald 12). He then proceeds to show Nick every inch of his house, especially the finer aspects of it such as his Italian Garden. Tom clearly enjoys boasting, and always has to make himself appear superior to everyone else. Gatsby on the other hand, proves he is the exact opposite of Tom; Humble. The fact Gatsby’s parties are open to all of New York, without giving regard to guests social status or colour, shows he is humble. Furthermore, the fact Gatsby does not sit on a golden thrown at his parties, rather stays on the down low, demonstrations he is humble enough not to show off. He may show off his possession but no one knows who exactly these possessions belong to. Among Gatsby’s other good characteristics is his generosity. When Nick first meets Gatsby, he is urged “If you want anything just ask for it, old sport” (Fitzgerald 53). Not to mention all of the food, entertainment, drinks and fun he offers his guests every week! This may have been all for attaining Daisy but nonetheless, he spent allot of money which shows generosity.
Probably one the best ways to analyse a man’s personality is taking a look at his loyalty to a relationship. There are clear differences between Tom and Gatsby’s loyalty to Daisy. In Gatsby’s eyes, Daisy is the one for him, he will never let go of her. The love he has for her can be comparable to the lovers in the famous play by Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. Although he gets betrayed a second time by Daisy, he still loves her and would do anything to win her heart back. For example, when they are both in the car driving trying to calm down, Daisy runs over Myrtle. No one knows this except Daisy, Gatsby and the reader. When Gatsby tells Nick what happened, Nick asks him who was the one driving, and Gatsby responds, "Yes...but of course I'll say I was" (Fitzgerald 143). This signifies the level of love and loyalty he has for her because after going through so much, he still risks his life for the sake of her. It takes a lot of guts to take the blame for killing someone. On the other hand, Tom is not at all loyal to Daisy. The greatest evidence of this is that he is having an affair with Myrtle. For a married man to have an affair is a clear cut sign that there is absolutely no loyalty within him for his partner. Tom exclaims to Gatsby: "She's [Daisy] 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." (Fitzgerald 142). This shows that Tom sees marriage as an economic exchange as he's "bought" Daisy honestly, but Gatsby would have to buy her dishonestly by stealing a ring. Marriage should be seen as a pledge to eternal loyalty and love but Tom sees otherwise as he is not loyal. Moreover, when Tom found out Daisy was seeing another...

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