How do Daisy's and Tom's attitudes about money differ from Gatsby's?The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Please provide quotes as support)

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Jay Gatsby, money is a means to an end whereas for Daisy and Tom Buchanan money is the end. In Chapter One of The Great Gatsby, for instance, that the Buchanans exist for money is indicated in Nick Carraway's comments,

Why they came East I don’t know. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together.

The villain of Fitzgerald's novel, Tom uses his money for power, exploiting Myrtle Wilson by buying her things so that he can use her sexually and vent his brutish delights upon her.  When Daisy kills Myrtle as she strikes her with Gatsby's car, Tom's social and wealthy influence keeps Daisy from being charged with the accident. Completely materialist, Tom buys whatever and whoever he pleases.  Exemplifying this attitude of Tom is a samll incident in Chapter Seven in which  Tom suggests that Gatsby take his car and he will drive Gatsby's, Gatsby tries to dissuade him by saying his is low on gas, but Tom counters,

"Plenty of gas," said Tom boisterously.  He looked at the gauge.  "And if it runs out I can stop at a drug store.  You can buy anthing at a drug store nowadays."

For Daisy,too, monetary power and material possessions are the ultimate rewards.  Jaded, Daisy asks her group also in Chapter Seven,

"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon...and the day after than and the next thirty years?"

After listening to Daisy, Nick comments to Gatsby,

"She's got an indiscreet voice,....It's full of---"

“Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly.

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.… High in a white palace the king's daughter, the golden girl.…

In spite of what she tells Gatsby, "the holy grail" that Gatsby seeks, yet loves Tom for his influence, turning to him for succor after the murder of Myrtle rather to the man who in loving solicitude stands in the rain outside her window.

In contrast to Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Gatsby commits himself to the following of a grail, the acquistion of wealth as a means of reaching that illusive green light at the end of Daisy's dock. Gatsby's mansion and his many colored shirts that he displays to Daisy, who buries her head in them and cries because for her money makes things more beautiful, are all purchased to impress his idealized lover. Unlike  the Buschanans, Gatsby's loyalty is to his dream and not to money.  When he is alone with Daisy, Nick remarks, 

... I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was…

Sadly, however, Gatsby's vigil outside Daisy's finds Gatsby "watching over nothing" as Nick narrates.  For, Daisy vanishes "into her rich house, into her rich, full life, leaving Gatsby--nothing."  Realizing the emptiness of the materialistic lives of the Buchanans, Nick later tells Gatsby,

"They're a rotten crowd....You're worth the whole damn bunch put together."

Nick reflects on Gatsby's futile efforts to use his money for the end of winning Daisy in Chapter Eight:

...he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.
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The Great Gatsby

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