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The Great Gatsby: Gatsby vs. Tom

             Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby have many things in common. They both seem to love Daisy, they are both very wealthy men, they both lie, and both cheat. But Fitzgerald does not see both men as equally corrupt. Tom has no reasoning in his actions, he is just purely malicious. Gatsby's actions however, are all for the only thing he truly wants in life but can never have, Daisy. He honestly believes that by becoming rich he"ll get Daisy, which is far from the case. Tom hurts other people on his power trips and doesn't give a second thought about it. He could have prevented both Gatsby and Wilson's deaths, but chose not to. It seems like he has no conscience, and is extremely proud of it. The difference with Gatsby though is that he truly seems to be good at heart. He never intentionally hurts anybody and seems to care for everyone's well being. Really the only "bad" thing he does is become a bootlegger in order to acquire his wealth. These two characters also symbolize the corruption of the American Dream in the novel. Both Tom and Gatsby's dreams have been clouded due to the manner in which they tried to achieve them. Which resulted from the unrestrained desire for money and pleasure overtaking more wholesome goals. .
             On the surface the men seem to be total opposites. Tom, a "hulking brute of a man" (16), looks more intimidating compared to the gentler-looking Gatsby who was described as "having one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it." (52) The tough versus gentle idea is also played out with the fact that Tom is associated the color red and Gatsby with the color pink. Tom's house was "a cheerful red and white [Daisy] Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay." (11) While Gatsby wears pink suits and Daisy tells Gatsby " I"d like to just get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around." (99) Pink is a softer shade of red and Gatsby is a softer shade of Tom in everything from his appearance to his actions.

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