Describe The Fight Between Gatsby And Tom

Describe the fight between Gatsby and Tom. What do these men think of each other? How are they similiar and how are they different?

 

chapter 7

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The argument between Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan takes place in chapter 7. The men cannot stand each other, and Tom has been suspicious of Gatsby since the first time they met. When Jay Gatsby tells Tom that his wife doesn't love him, Tom insists that Gatsby is crazy. Gatsby continues to elaborate on why he could not be with Daisy but believes that she has loved him for the past five years. Daisy then reluctantly admits to never loving Tom but contradicts her statement when Tom brings up their past. Gatsby then says that Daisy will be leaving Tom, which is something Tom immediately challenges. Tom then refers to Gatsby as a "common swindler" and mentions his association with Meyer Wolfsheim. As Tom continues to disclose Gatsby's true identity by exposing him as a bootlegger, Daisy gradually begins to back away from Gatsby. Gatsby ends up losing the argument and is exposed as a criminal, which ruins his chances of being with Daisy.

In regards to how Tom and Gatsby are alike, both men are in love with Daisy and are wealthy. They both have secrets they attempt to hide from others and are portrayed as passionate men. Despite their similarities, Tom is inherently different from Gatsby. Gatsby is a dreamer who comes from humble beginnings and attains the American dream. He also genuinely loves Daisy and fabricates his identity in hopes of winning her heart. In contrast, Tom was born into a wealthy family and continually cheats on Daisy. He views Daisy as a possession and does not treat her with respect.

dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The fight that occurs between Gatsby and Tom is representative of the feelings that these two men have had toward each other since they have known about each other yet were kept bottled up until this point in the novel.  Daisy decides that they all (Gatsby, Tom, Daisy, Jordan, and Nick) should get together at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City.  While there, Tom gets so mad when Gatsby calls him “old sport” that Tom explodes by yelling at Gatsby and revealing all of the information about Gatsby’s illegal life that Tom had been researching.  When Tom reveals this information, it is obvious that Daisy did not know anything about this part of Gatsby’s life and Tom then feels safer about his relationship with Daisy.  During the fight, Gatsby almost demands that Daisy renounce any feelings of love that she ever had for Tom.  Although Daisy does do this at first, she takes it back, saying that she can not truthfully say that she never loved Tom.  It is obvious that these two men hate each other and are, at the same time, jealous of each other.  Their similarities include wealth, determination, a cheating/lying nature, and a love for Daisy.  Tom is different from Gatsby in that he does not really see that he has ever done wrong whereas Gatsby does seem to know that what he has done is wrong – that is why he keeps it hidden.

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The Great Gatsby

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