Tom, more selfish and self centered, completely opposes Gatsby’s selfless behaviour. Although Gatsby possesses justified reasons for attaining wealth, his selflessness leads him to his end whereas Tom’s immoral actions keep him from harm. To start, both Tom and Gatsby attain wealth. At a young age Gatsby knows he is destined to achieve a certain social status; he plans his schedule daily in order to acquire riches (Fitzgerald 165). He even changes his name to Jay Gatsby when meeting Dan Cody aboard his yacht in order to create a new image of himself (94).
Even though he is focused, early on in his life, his priorities are very limited. He is blinded, only seeing a life of wealth with someone he barely knows. In contrast, Tom comes from a pedigree of rich people: “His family were enormously wealthy…” (11). He never had to lift a finger for all of his possessions. Tom is self centered and very influential, using his money to benefit only himself. His reckless behaviour is allowed only because he has money, he profits from it by avoiding problems such as the death of Myrtle, “and anybody would have said that they were conspiring together” (138).
His money serves him as a shield, to be racist, cheat on his wife, and even strike a woman; a clear amount of moral decay is present in Tom, but the lack of consequences are present. In flaunting their money, both Gatsby and Tom are found guilty. Gatsby throws fancy parties often in an attempt to draw Daisy over, showing of his money, but not necessarily flaunting it to the others. “I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. ” (89), one of Gatsby’s many ploys at winning Daisy.
Gatsby fails to see any other use for money other than dazzling Daisy, which in turn shows how corrupt of a man he his, seeing as he is blinded by a materialistic woman, and in turn risking his own being for the sake of hers. On the other hand, Tom’s usage of money allows him to show of all that he has to everyone. Flaunting his wealth by means of Daisy’s necklace (74), or even when he advertises his house to Nick (13), furthermore proving his egotistical nature and moral-less behaviour, in valuing money as only something to glorify himself and place himself above everyone else.
Lastly, both men share personal sentiments with Daisy by means of flaunting their money towards her, in knowing that that is what attracts Daisy. The main reasons for Gatsby’s actions are due to his immense love for Daisy, and the only thing ever standing in the way between their love was money; money that he eventually acquired and still thought Daisy would love him, even though she was married. “She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me.
It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved anyone expect me! ” (124), proving how materialistic Daisy is, and how foolish Gatsby is for even loving such a woman. Also demonstrating that even before Gatsby had money, Tom, not the man Daisy loved was able to woo her with money. Tom, even in cheating on Daisy is able to continue his relationship with her, because of how easily manipulated Daisy is, and how reassured and cocky he is. Even in allowing Daisy to ride home with Gatsby (128).
In conclusion, The Great Gatsby allows one to look through a window and see the outcome between Gatsby and Tom, where money plays a huge role in dismantling each of the characters and demonstrating each of their flaws. Gatsby, clearly the nobler of the two suffers, even though his reasons for obtaining wealth are completely justified, his actions prove otherwise. Taking the blame of Myrtles death, and pursuing a married woman clearly indicate his corruption and single-minded approach throughout the novel. Whereas Tom, committing all sorts of immoral wrongs essentially ends up in the right.
By saving his marriage by avoiding consequences due to Myrtles death by conspiring with Daisy right after and lastly even ridding his life of Gatsby by telling Mr. Wilson that it was in fact Gatsby that had been driving the yellow car. Fitzgerald is clearly able to show the corruption present in the socially advanced, in describing how Tom, the bad person, trumps over Gatsby, even though their actions should determine otherwise. Work Cited: Fitzgerald. F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner’s son, 1925