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The Contrast and Conformity in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

Decent Essays
Throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses an ensemble of characters to portray different aspects of the 1920s. The characters’ occupations and lifestyles represent the corruption, carefreeness, and prosperity of the Roaring Twenties. Perhaps most striking of this ensemble is the pompous bigot Tom Buchanan and the novel’s namesake Jay Gatsby. Set in the fictional towns of West Egg and East Egg on Long Island, New York, in the summer of 1922, the novel revolves around the protagonist Nick Carraway when he moves to West Egg. Upon arriving, he reconnects with his cousin Daisy Buchanan, and her husband Tom. He also encounters his mysterious neighbor Jay Gatsby, and eventually learns that Gatsby is an admirer of…show more content…
He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity” (92). Gatsby was overwhelmed at seeing his love again; while he planned it, reality was much different. Tom also loves Daisy, yet his love is clouded by his affair with Myrtle Wilson. However, all in all, Tom does live Daisy and fights Gatsby, verbally, for her love. During this lingual altercation, he lucidly states, “...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). While Tom does flaunt his unfaithfulness, he has an unfeigned love for Daisy despite his mistresses. Perhaps the largest variance between the two men is their diverging personalities. As previously stated, Tom is contemptuous and narcissistic, while Gatsby is far more compassionate and level headed. Tom’s bigotry and self-importance is best exemplified during his altercation with Gatsby, “I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife... and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white” (130). Tom raises himself up in front by referring to Gatsby as a nobody, emphasizing Gatsby’s poor past. Gatsby’s personality is best described by Nick, “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was
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