Jay Gatsby And Tom Buchanan: Character Comparison Free Writing Sample

Introduction

The Great Gatsby is a story that is centered on three main characters in a love triangle, Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan and Gatsby is Daisy’s old flame since collage days and is still in love with her though she is married. The Great Gatsby demonstrates how the power of dreams can be indeed destructive at times. Tom Buchanan is athletic and comes from a well to do family married to lovely Daisy. He comes across as an arrogant spoilt brat who takes pride in bullying others and has an affair with another woman Myrtle despite being married to Daisy. However, he gets infuriated when he discovers that his wife Daisy has an affair and is ready to cause havoc, Turnbull, A. (1962).

Main Body

Tom’s wife Daisy was in love with Gatsby in her younger days in Louisville and even went to the extent of promising Gatsby that she would wait for him to marry her. But as her desire to be loved intensified, she eventually gave in to the powerful wealthy young Tom Buchanan who asked her to marry him to which she agreed and forgot all about Gatsby. Through time, her husband Tom started cheating on her hurting her feelings. Residing in the same neighborhood across their house lives Gatsby who still adores her but she does her best to conceal her pain caused by her husband’s never ending flings with other women, Bruccoli, A. J. (1985).

Jay Gatsby, the central character of the Novel lives right across the Buchanans just as wealthy as Tom in a lavish mansion organizing parties every weekend though he remains mysterious as no one knows what he does, how he got his wealth or where he comes from. With time, Daisy’s cousin Nick finds out that Gatsby was born in North Dakota and was called James Gatz. He dedicated his life to amass wealth after working for a millionaire. It was love at first sight when he met Daisy while training in Louisville as an officer. Nick also finds out that Gatsby amassed his wealth through criminal activities as he was so determined to win over Daisy at all costs and was convinced that getting rich getting recognition socially would help him get Daisy. Nick eventually finds Gatsby to be a man with astonishing optimism with ability to convert his lifelong dreams into reality making him an interesting character despite being dishonest, naughty and imperfect as well, Lehan, R. D. (1966).

Apart from Tom and Gatsby wanting to individually own Daisy, they are very much different as far as their affection for Daisy is concerned. They both share quite a number of similarities just as much as they are very different. Tom and Gatsby’s similarities range from their dedication for financial success, harboring antagonistic feelings towards one another, being wealthy, wanting to possess Daisy, both put a lot of value to status in society, Gatsby illustrates his need for wealth when he gets into organized crime after abandoning his disgraceful janitorial job while Tom shows off his costly and luxurious sports car after graduating from Yale, Bruccoli, A. J. (1985).

The other similarity between the two is the fact that they both want to own Daisy. Gatsby goes to the extent of resorting to criminal activities to acquire wealth in an effort to win Daisy’s affection. He is even ready to face the law on Daisy’s behalf after she kills Myrtle Wilson, Tom’s mistress using Gatsby’s car. To keep Daisy on his side, Tom makes use of his great personality as well as his enormous wealth. The other similarity both Tom and Gatsby share is their hatred as well as resentment for one another. This is best illustrated when both of them portray their detest for one another when both get into an argument when they run into each other in a Plaza Hotel. They both expose each other’s mistakes to their immediate friends as well as hauling insults at one another. “I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife” yells Tom is one fine example of their relentless insults.

As much as there are so many similarities between Gatsby and Tom, they also differ in numerous ways. Tom is arrogant with a bullish personality and has an athletic physique. He resides in East Egg that is popular with residents with old money. Because his family was well off, Tom never had to work when he was growing up and graduated from Yale. Tom is a spend thrift and a big show off. He buys expensive things and brags about them to his friends. Tom doesn’t care about others due to his merciless nature. His arrogance and devil may care attitude comes through strongly when he smashes things up including helpless creatures then beats a fast retreat into his wealthy fortress, Lehan, R. D. (1966).

Tom’s relationship with Daisy is just for possession sake but not real love. He constantly goes out with other women without caring about the feelings of his wife convinced that his wife will never walk away from him because of his wealth. With other women preoccupying his mind Tom has no time to romance his wife. This is what makes Tom very different from Gatsby, Turnbull, A. (1962).

On the other hand, Gatsby is totally different from Tom for his kindness as well as passionate and likable personality. He throws great parties every Saturday and doesn’t mind strangers attending them. Unlike Tom who has a house in East Egg where people have old money, Gatsby owns one in West Egg where people spend new money. Gatsby comes from a poor family in North Dakota that barely had enough money to take him to college. He honestly and passionately loves Daisy and willing to do anything for her love. He is good-hearted and loyal as well. Daisy is the main reason Gatsby went to unimaginable lengths to amass wealth just to win her over.

Gatsby is so much in love with Daisy to the extent of equating her to the Holy Grail. Gatsby gets disappointed because of his idealistic way of looking at life. He strongly believes that he will one day win Daisy’s love, but realistically his chances are next to nil as Daisy more or less only cares about riches and hence prefers Tom to Gatsby because of his wealth. Once, Gatsby cried, “Can’t repeat the past?”… “Why of course you can!” Lehan, R. D. (1966).

Conclusion

Gatsby and Tom are both similar in certain ways but equally different in so many ways. Their differences eventually culminated into an inevitable fight that crashed Gatsby’s dream. This is a good illustration of the negative consequences whenever there are differences between two individuals.

References

  1. Bruccoli, A. J. (1985). New Essays on The Great Gatsby. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Fitzgerald, F. S. (1963). The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  3. Lehan, R. D. (1966). F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Craft of Fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
  4. Milford, N. (1970). Zelda. New York: Harper and Row.
  5. Turnbull, A. (1962). Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Essay Voice-over

Money & Wealth In Death Of A Salesman

Introduction

Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman” is, to me, all about the dangers of defining happiness in terms of financial success. Charley sums up this idea when he says, “The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell” (97). For this reason, I plan to use it as a starting point for my speech with high school students currently reading the play. It is the perfect lead-in for my argument that the play is all about the importance of examining the real implications of the American Dream in today’s consumer culture.

Analysis

For many people, perhaps especially today’s high school students, the American Dream takes shape in the things that you own. If you don’t own the right things, you can’t possibly fit within a particular social group. One of the major items required is home ownership. Early in the play, Willy observes to his wife “Work a lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it, and there’s nobody to live in it” (4). This statement reveals the emptiness Willy has found in the accomplishment of providing his family with a home of their own as his sons prepare to leave again. As Linda tries to soothe him, he reminds her “some people accomplish something” (4) indicating that simply owning a home and raising a family isn’t enough to give him the sense of satisfaction he’d thought he’d have at this point in his life. Throughout the play, Willy reveals his impression of successful people lies in the degree to which he can impress others rather than anything tangible or helpful for society.

Throughout the play, it can be seen where Willy’s wife or children have attempted to assure him that his importance to them has little or nothing to do with his ability to impress others or his level of financial success. All they want to do is spend time with him. The boys are seen, in Willy’s flashbacks, to constantly beg him to take them with him on his sales trips while Linda continuously works to reassure him and support him in everything that he does. “He’s the dearest man in the world to me, and I won’t have anyone making him feel unwanted and low and blue” (38), Linda tells Biff in adulthood. However, Willy is unable to share any kind of meaningful relationship with any of his family members because he is so fixated on the idea that he has to be at a certain point financially before he can consider himself worthy of their affection.

Willy’s belief that his family would receive a $20,000 life insurance benefit following his suicide is the only answer he can discover to finally achieve his financial goals for his family after he realizes he can no longer work. Only after he solves this dilemma can he begin to understand that his family, particularly Biff, had really loved him all along simply because he was Willy. Because these are the final moments of his life, though, Willy is never able to directly benefit from this new appreciation of his life just as his death by suicide automatically voided the life insurance policy, thus leaving his family in greater debt than they had been before. Thus, at no point was he ever actually able to attain the human dream of togetherness and happiness, the dream of enjoying a retirement home with a loving family crowded around. This is an important message for today’s teenagers to understand – that happiness is the end goal, not a bank balance.

Gender In The Great Gatsby & The Yellow Wallpaper

The focal point of the paper is to explore the Male-Female Relationships in The Great Gatsby by the noted American author of the post first world war era F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Yellow Wallpaper by American short story writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The complexities of men and women in the texts would be examined and evaluated based on sexuality and relationship and the inferences would be supported by the texts themselves.

Background of Male-Female Relationships

Before one begins to discuss sexual and gender differences in regards to love and intimacy, perhaps it is wise to discuss first the basic concepts of love, intimacy, and marriage. In modern Western democracies, marriage is assumed to be founded on the cherished concept of romantic love. Furthermore, persons in modern, industrialized nations strongly believe that the choice of a mate should be left to the individual. It comes as a shock to many people in these Western nations, then, when they discover that this revered concept of romantic love is almost wholly unknown in most cultures and is considered laughable or self-indulgent in many other societies. In most traditional or developing societies, marriage is viewed upon as being a pragmatic economic arrangement or a matter of family alliances. (Lips, 67) Love has little, if anything, to do with it. In these cultures, marriage is negotiated by the parents of the betrothed. The opinions of the children themselves are generally viewed as being irrelevant. If love becomes a feature of these unions at all, it is expected to be a result and not a cause of the marriage. The economic components of these unions are especially pronounced in cultures where an intending groom must pay a bride–price to his prospective father-in-law. This tradition is very common in sub-Saharan Africa, where almost all of the tribes expect the groom to trade cattle for the bride. However, strange it may seem today, the man-woman relationship depended on these principles in 19th century America as depicted in the selected texts. (Robertson, 188)

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby can be enumerated as a novel that is a landmark of American literature. This 240-page novel published on April 10, 1925, by the noted publisher of the time Charles Scribner’s Sons is an epic story set in the background of Long Island and New York City depicts the incidents of 1922 summer. According to Francis Scott Fitzgerald, this novel is a chronicle of an era that could be enumerated as the “Jazz Age.” It would also place a well-documented approach towards the application of the philosophy of the era and the insights of the characters pursuing the ‘American Dream’ with their social and emotional perspectives.

Daisy’s existence completely depended on successful marriage and without a successful marriage, the position of the woman in the society in the era was sure to suffer. “Through this twilight universe, Daisy began to move again with… the season; suddenly she was again keeping half a dozen dates a day with half a dozen men, and drowsing asleep at dawn with the beads and chiffon of an evening dress tangled among dying orchids on the floor beside her bed. And all the time something within her was crying for a decision. She wanted her life shaped now, immediately – and the decision must be made by some force – of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality – that was close at hand” (Fitzgerald, 8.19). Without a husband, she was not complete in the eyes of society and this was formulated by the male-dominated system of the time. Her entire surroundings were concerned about her marriage and Gatsby’s absence made her restless. This is a clear indication of the relationship between man and woman in the text as it is evident that in this situation the man is the giver and woman is the receiver, not a taker and while a taker can claim right away a receiver is only dependent on the giver, in this case, Gatsby.

Daisy’s comment, “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.” (Fitzgerald, 1.118) is almost the interpretation of the society of the era. Here the relationship with the man is nothing more than being there and doing nothing. A woman is supposed to be befool and uninterested in everything other than satisfying a man. This makes a relationship with a man meaningless on emotional grounds but only on financial support.

It is visible in Nick’s comments, “Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply – I was casually sorry, and then I forgot. It was at that same house party that we had a curious conversation about driving a car. It started because she passed so close to some workmen that our fender flicked a button on one man’s coat. (Fitzgerald, 3.159) This ends the relationship between a man and a woman as such notion of disrespect could never develop a relationship and it is never possible to sustain a man-woman relationship under such parameters of disrespect.

The Yellow Wallpaper

This 6,000-word story was first published in The New England Magazine in the January 1892 issue. It narrates the mental health along with physical conditions of women in 19th century America and it is considered as one of the most fundamental works of the era from the parameters of feminist literature. The story is a journal by the main protagonist who is confined by her husband to work or move outside her house and so much so, she is even barred from other parts of the house too.

John, the narrator’s husband, is reported to be extremely concerned about the narrator’s health and he firmly states, “My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing” (Gilman, 1.11). This is to emphasize the fact that the position of the woman is in her home whereas the men, who venture outside, possess the power to call the orders. Such remarks make the story dominated by male characters and this leaves the narrator confined in her room. The relationship between a man and woman is turned into a master and servant relationship bounded by orders.

The position of women in 19th century America was completely stereotyped and the narrator states, “[Jennie] is a perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for… no better profession. I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick!” (Gilman, 2.77) This identifies the position of women in society with the bondage of forced relationships and discouraged from education and to a man, being a good homemaker is all that can be desired from a woman, as in the case of John’s sister Jennie.

In her isolation, the narrator hallucinates, “Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind,… and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over. […] And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern–it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads (Gilman, 9.4 – 9.6). It is the vision of herself in the middle of a bonded relationship with her husband where there seems to be no outlet or salvation.

The relationship with her husband becomes so suffocating that she plans a way-out, at least in her mind. She imagines that the woman in the yellow wallpaper is trying to creep out at night. She remarks, “It is the same woman, I know, for she is… always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight” (Gilman, 10.4). It is this thought of suffocation that destroys the relationship with her husband and the man-woman relationship in this text becomes sour with her idea to salvage herself only at secrecy during the night.

Discussion

Marriage in the Western culture is still laced with patriarchal notions. The idea that women are subordinate to their husbands is even today built into the marriage contract in many jurisdictions. Women in the United States, for example, still do most of the housework, even though a great number of them have jobs outside the home. Although the roles of fathers are changing, primary responsibility for the care of children still rests with the mother in Western society. This applies to both women with jobs and without jobs. Gender roles die hard. Given the many problems that are associated with marriage, it is not so surprising that many young people in Western societies- which, to a great extent, now values individual fulfillment over traditions- have become disillusioned with the institution of marriage. This has resulted in the surging of non-traditional social structures. (Leslie, 271)

Conclusion

Given the related conditions in the two texts, it is no wonder that today the women are choosing to be single. Another social structure becoming increasingly more common is singlehood. It is growing in popularity for women in Western democracies. For women, marriage- and even cohabitation- have serious drawbacks. Marriage, in particular, comes with an assortment of social sanctions that many women find to be constraining. Women usually lose their last names, having to assume the last names of their mates. Career-oriented women believe that assuming a family would be a detriment to their professional advancement. Many women- with justification- would feel burdened by doing the housework not only for herself but also for her husband and children. Also, by assuming a committed relationship, a woman makes herself vulnerable to the grim possibilities of physical, emotional, and mental abuse. Single is an umbrella term that includes persons who are divorced, widowed, or have never married. Singles now make up a considerable portion of the U.S. population. While some persons belonging to this group are unhappy with their single status, or ambivalent about it, large numbers are undeniably happy with this particular lifestyle choice.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Auckland: BLT, 2000.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. Book Trust, 1999.

Leslie, Gerald. The Family in Social Context (Sixth Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Lips, Hilary. Sex & Gender: An Introduction. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2005.

Robertson, Ian. Society: A Brief Introduction. New York: Worth Publishers, Inc., 2001.

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