The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Questions 4-6

by Ebere Anokute, Jessica Satin, Kathleen Gonzales, and Araseli Enriquez-Flores-Santiago


Compare and contrast Gatsby and Tom. How are they alike? How are they different? How do they symbolize the contrast between old money and new money in the novel?
  • First, it is important to mention that everything that Gatsby does, he does out of the love that he has for Daisy.
    • "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." (131)
  • Tom was described in ithe following manner: external image 66gatsbyhead.jpg
    • "...He was a sturdy, straw-haired man of 30 with a rather hard mouth and supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggresssively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body - he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage - a cruel body." (7)
    • The author depicts him as strong and manly, even slightly brutish at times. This was a body capable of doing much damage.
  • Gatsby's appearance is described as plain and nonconspicuous. He doesn't stand out for any reason and his slender frame doesn't befit that of a person who is known to have such extravagent parties.
    • "His tan skin was drawn attravtively tight on his face and his short hair looked as though it were trimmed everyday." (50)
  • While the diction used to describe Tom is very masculine and intimidating, Gatsby's physical stature does not stand out. He is slender, plain, and very well-groomed, very much unlike Tom.
  • Gatsby and Tom are not only two different people but they also represent two different types of wealth.
    • Tom personifies old money, while Gatsby represents new money.
    • Gatsby was raised by "poor, shiftless and unsuccesful farm people." (98)
    • Tom, on the other hand, grew up wealthy and privileged; he went to Yale, was wel-known for his football prowess and has always known exactly how important he was.
      • "His family were enormously wealthy - even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach - but now he left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away." (6)
    • To piggyback on the idea of old money and new money, West Egg represented the New Money and that is where Gatsby lived.
      • West Egg was "less fashionable" (5) than the East Egg, which was beautiful and extravagant, where Tom and Daisy lived.
        • "Across the courtesy bay, the white palaces of East Egg glittered across the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans." (5)
      • James Gatz had to change his name to assimilate himself to the world of New Money. He had to change his identity in order to feel like he belonged in this society.
        • "James Gatz - that was really, or legally, his name." (98)
        • "The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island sprang from his platonic conception of himself." (98)
  • Tom and Gatsby's natures are also very different.
    • Tom has no respect for women. He is not only unfaithful to women, but is physically abusive.
      • "Making a short dest moment, Tom Buchanan broke her (Myrtle's) nose with his open hand." (37)
    • He also proves himself to be very ignorant.

    • Gatbsy on the other hand is very "good-natured" meaning that he is very sincere when he says and does certain things. For example, Gatsby was willing to take the blame for Myrtle's death. He confidently tells Nick Carraway:
      • "...But of course I'll say I was (driving)." (143)
    • He cared so much about Daisy that he couldn't fathom her being reprimanded for anything.
    • Another example is when Daisy was in an accident and Gatsby refused to leave her side until he was sure that she was safe.
      • Gatsby & his yellow car
        Gatsby & his yellow car
        "I want to wait here til Daisy goes to bed."
  • They are similar in that they completely disregard the sanctity of marriage. Neither has a problem with being unfaithful, and fidelity is not very high on their list of things to be upheld. Tom has no problem openly having an affair with Myrtle, and Gatsby has even less of a problem with being the "other man" in Daisy's affair.
    • "'We're getting off,' he insisted. 'I want you to meet my girl.'" (24)
    • "'I want to see you,' said Tom intently. 'I'll meet you by the newsstand on the lower level.'" (26)
      • These quotes show how Tom has no problem blatantly discussing his affair in front of Daisy.
    • "Don't bring Tom." (83)
      • This quote shows how Gatsby does not want Tom to be around when Daisy comes over, because he wants to make moves on her.
  • Also, they both really shared a deep affection for Daisy, just in different ways. Tom would never leave her, even though he had another woman on the side. He made an excuse as to why he would never leave her:
    • "'It's really his wife that's keeping them apart. She's a Catholic and they don't believe in divorce.'
      Daisy was not a Catholic and I was a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie." (33)


At the end of Chapter Five, Nick makes much of the power of Daisy's voice over Gatsby: "I think that voice held him most, with its fluctuating, feverish warmth, because it couldn't be overdreamed - that voice was a deathless song." (p.96) Later on, Gatsby observes that "Her voice is full of money," and Nick develops the point: "That was it, I'd never understood before. It was full of money - that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it." Using these descriptions as a starting point, characterize Daisy Buchanan and discuss her appeal tot he men in the novel (Nick, Tom, Gatsby).
  • Daisy Buchanan was the "dream girl" of most men of that society. She is beautiful, wealthy, and her upbeat personality allows her to attract any man she wishes.
    • "Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes, and a bright passionate mouth but there was an excitement in her voice that men who cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered "Listen," a promise that she had done gay exciting things just a while since that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour." (9)
    • "He (Gatsby) knew that Daisy was extraordinary but he didn't realize just how extraordinary a "nice" girl could be. She vanished into her rich house in her rich full life leaving Gatsby - nothing. He felt married to her, that was all." (149)
    • "Her voice is full of money." (120)
  • She was worldly, and well-known. She was used to having people fall all over her and that gave her a sort of confidence that was attractive to many people.
    • "...many men had already loved Daisy- it increased her value in his (Gatsby's) eyes." (149)

      external image tumblr_kt9j2owGRb1qany45o1_500.jpg

  • The fact that so many people wanted her but couldn't ever have her made her even more appealing. Her very social nature was also very enticing.
    • "Suddenly she was again keeping half a dozen dates with half a dozen men?" (151)
  • She is a realist in that she knows exactly what her place is in society. She knows she must flaunt what she has because as a woman, she'll need a husband and a certain social rank to be where she is.
    • "'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool - that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." (17)
  • Daisy is a character that was seen to represent wealth and happiness. With her came connections due to her wealthy family. Her air of nonchalance and her happy nature can both undoubtedly be attributed to her vast wealth.
    • "...Gatsby was overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes, and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor." (150)
    • This quote shows that due to her affluence, she doesn't have to worry about the same things that poor people do. She doesn't have to endure the problems of the poor mainly because she has so much money and the things that would trouble Myrtle don't necessarily trouble her.
  • With Daisy comes connections because of her wealthy family and money. In reality, Daisy is what most men want - sophisticated, lovely, and rich.


The introduction of Myrtle and George Wilson underscores the important of social class in the novel. How does their presence sharpen Fitzgerald's characterization of the rich, and what might the resulting contrasts suggest about the role of class in shaping social experience in The Great Gatsby?
  • The presence of Myrtle and George Wilson provides a contrast to the overtly wealthy East and West Egg residents that we were previously introduced to. For one thing, Myrtle and George live in the Valley of Ashes, above the garage in which they work.
    • "She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensually as some women can. Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue, crepe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty..." (25)
    • "Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget..." (9)
    • While Myrtle is described as unattractive and fat, Daisy is described with beautiful diction and words that make her seem even more beautiful.
    • Myrtle is also seen wearing a brown dress when she goes to the city with Tom, which represents dirt and work, while Daisy is always wearing white, showing purity and innocence. Although these are faint descriptions, they still show the differences in the two classes.
  • There are also differences used when describing George and Tom.
    • "He was a blond, spiritless man, anemic, and faintly handsome." (25)
    • "Now he was a sturdy straw-haired man of 30 with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner... he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage..." (7)
  • Myrtle and George are taken advantage of by the other upperclass characters of the novel.
    • "'I want to see you,' said Tom intently. 'Get on the next train.'" (26)
    • "And if you feel that way about it, maybe I better sell it somewhere else after all." (25)
      • Tom refers to the car that he is not actually going to sell to George, but he is just playing with his mind. Show how the lower class is humiliated and used by the upper class.
  • The way that George and Myrtle are treated by the upper class people really highlights the disparity between teh social classes and their differing social experiences.