Comparative Study between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby are the two central characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The plot of The Great Gatsby revolves around Daisy Buchanan's relationship with Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. Tom and Gatsby both are very different in the ways they love Daisy. However, they demonstrate to be similar as they both want Daisy to be their very own. Both Tom and Gatsby share many similarities while having even a greater amount of differences.

Some of the similarities between Tom and Gatsby include being wealthy, wanting Daisy to be their own, and having hostile feelings towards one another. Both Gatsby and Tom strive to be financially successful. Both Gatsby and Tom find their high status in society important. Tom went to Yale and shows off with expensive sports cars. Gatsby shows his need for wealth when he quits his janitorial job because of his humiliation and goes into organized crime.

Both of these characters are also similar as they want Daisy to be their own. Gatsby strives for Daisy's affection and even uses criminal means to try to reach a wealth that will make him desirable. He loves her so much that he does not mind taking the blame for her, when she kills Myrtle Wilson with his car. Tom uses his great wealth and loud personality to keep Daisy interested in him. Their hostility and dislike for one another demonstrates another similarity that they share. Tom and Gatsby get in an argument at the Plaza Hotel and show their dislike for one another. They both bring up each other's faults and reveal them to their surrounding friends. They also insult one another. For example, Tom yells "I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife."(Fitzgerald 137) Many similarities are present in The Great Gatsby between Tom and Gatsby.

Although Tom and Gatsby share many similarities, Tom differs from Gatsby in many ways. First, Tom's main attributes consist of being a strong athlete and having a brute personality. Also, he lives in East Egg which contains people that have old money. He attended Yale and never had to do much work when he was younger due to this wealth. He shows his money off by buying extravagant things for himself to show off to others. He is a cold-hearted, shallow man who doesn't really care about what happens to others. Tom's careless nature gets illustrated when he "Smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into [his] money." (Fitzgerald 187-188) He likes Daisy not for true love but rather for a possession-type relationship. He cheats on her and is proud of that and doesn't strive for her love because he knows his wealth will keep her with him. When with Daisy, he rarely acts romantic as he always is preoccupied with his greed. His realistic approach to life causes him to be rarely disappointed. As a reader can see, Tom has his own set of unique characteristics differing from those of Gatsby.

Tom is crude; Gatsby is more refined.  Though Tom has grown up with money, he is not refined nor is he gracious.  Gatsby grew up with virtually nothing; however, though he is still rather socially inept and lacking in some niceties, he strives to be a courteous host and generally wants to please those around him.
Tom is overpowering; Gatsby is more reserved.  Tom is a large man (with a voice that doesn't match his physical presence, by the way) and uses his presence to intimidate.  Daisy calls him a brute and his mistress calls him "hulking" enough times to get a punch in the nose.  Gatsby, on the other hand, is barely recognized at his own parties.  He's shy and rather reclusive, and he is not an imposing presence--even when he wants to be, as in his confrontation with Tom in the hotel.

Gatsby has a passionate and kind personality. For example, he lets people he has never meet before attend parties at his house. Gatsby lives in west egg which contains people who have new money. He came from a poor family, "his parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people," (Fitzgerald 104) from North Dakota and struggled with obtaining enough money to make it through college. He is a loyal and good-hearted man who loves Daisy and really wants her true love. He is willing to do whatever it takes to win her love. Her love becomes one of the prime reasons he desires to be rich. Gatsby considers Daisy so precious to him that she often gets referred to as the Holy Grail. He tries to win her by having "committed himself to the following of a grail" (Fitzgerald 156) and only loving her. However, Daisy cares solely about net-wealth and therefore, chooses Tom. Throughout the novel, Gatsby shows how he is a romantic dreamer by always dreaming of Daisy truly falling for him. His unrealistic approach to life causes him to be often disappointed. While speaking to Daisy, Gatsby once cried, '"Can't repeat the past?'... 'Why of course you can!'" (Fitzgerald 116). This shows his unrealistic attitude as the circumstances of Daisy's and his relationship has changed and will never be like it once was. For example, he believes that he actually might be able to win her love when he really as no chance with her. Gatsby differs from Tom in many ways.

Tom has no purpose or direction in life other than to enjoy being rich and self-indulgent; Gatsby cares little for himself and is single-minded in his goal to win back the only woman he ever loved.

Both, Gatsby and Tom share ways that they are both alike and quite a lot ways they are different. These differences led to their final fight which leads to the downfall of Gatsby's life dream. This demonstrates how differences between one another can lead to negative cosequences.