Tom Buchanan is described as having a strong and repugnant presence. He was a star athlete at Yale and is restless after his glory days of playing there, “…had been one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven-a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterwards savours of anti-climax” (page 10). He is arrogant and seems to believe that he can have anything that he wants. Even though he has a wife and child, he has no problem with having a mistress on the side and does not care that others, including his wife, know about it. In addition, Tom is very self-absorbed and cares only about himself and his own desires. Tom was what Daisy’s family considered to be suitable for their daughter. That, along with his money, is mainly why she married him.
Jay Gatsby, originally named James Gatz, has a smaller presence than Tom and acts more like a child with a desire for approval. Gatsby is able to stay hidden at his parties and remains mysterious to his party guests. Gatsby grew up poor in North Dakota and reinvented himself into the person that Nick meets because he had never been satisfied with his life. Unlike Tom, Gatsby does everything with Daisy in mind. He built a gigantic mansion directly across from he...
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...even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach” (10). He does not necessarily flaunt his money like Gatsby does, but it is still obvious that he has it. Tom is more comfortable with his wealth since he has always had it. Gatsby, on the other hand, shows off a little more and is more extravagant with everything.
Many aspects of Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby are polar opposites. They grew up differently, they look at life from vastly diverse views, and they treat people contrarily. Their commonalities lie in their wealth and their connection to Daisy, although they differ in many aspects there as well. At the end of The Great Gatsby, Tom gets to keep living his privileged lifestyle and he still has Daisy while Gatsby is left dead and betrayed.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995. Print.
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