What are the differences between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby? Provide some quotes from the book to show the differences.

In The Great Gatsby, Tom Buchanan hails from a wealthy family and resides in East Egg. Tom is also depicted as a selfish, arrogant man who offends others and treats people with "paternal contempt." In contrast, Jay Gatsby comes from a poor family and is a self-made man living in the newly rich West Egg. Jay Gatsby is also enormously charismatic and charming. Unlike Tom, Gatsby is a genuine, selfless man who "turned out all right at the end."

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There are several notable differences between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby. Tom Buchanan is depicted as a muscular, arrogant man with a supercilious attitude. Nick is not particularly fond of Tom and elaborates on his difficult personality by saying,

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There are several notable differences between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby. Tom Buchanan is depicted as a muscular, arrogant man with a supercilious attitude. Nick is not particularly fond of Tom and elaborates on his difficult personality by saying,

His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked—and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts.

In contrast, Jay Gatsby is depicted as the consummate gentleman and exudes warmth, generosity, and kindness. Nick describes Gatsby's welcoming, magnetic personality by saying,

He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on YOU with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.

In addition to their completely different physical attributes and personalities, Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby also come from different backgrounds. Tom comes from old money, which is why he lives in the prestigious East Egg community. Nick describes Tom's affluent family background by saying,

His family were enormously wealthy—even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach—but now he’d left Chicago and come east in a fashion that rather took your breath away.

In contrast, Jay Gatsby is a self-made man who hails from humble beginnings. Gatsby grew up on a lowly farm in North Dakota, and Nick describes his background by saying,

His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people—his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself.

Tom Buchanan is also portrayed as a callous, selfish man who treats others with contempt and is primarily concerned about his own well-being. Following Myrtle's tragic death, Tom blames her murder on Gatsby before skipping town to avoid the consequences of his actions. Nick describes Tom and Daisy's despicable, selfish personalities by saying,

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

Despite Gatsby's obvious flaws, Nick maintains an affinity for him and is able to recognize the purity in Jay Gatsby. Nick views Gatsby as a hopeless romantic who was willing to sacrifice everything to win Daisy's heart. Nick goes on to describe the unfortunate plight of Jay Gatsby by saying,

No—Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and shortwinded elations of men.

Overall, Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby come from different backgrounds, have completely different personalities, and have entirely different motives for acting the way they do.

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There are a number of differences between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. First of all, there is a strong difference in the physical appearances of both men. Tom, for example, is described as having a "hard mouth" and "supercilious manner," suggesting that he is a mean and arrogant person. In contrast, Gatsby is described in much more positive terms. He has "attractively tight skin," for example, and Nick can see nothing "sinister" about him.

Secondly, Tom and Gatsby are very different in their attitudes toward Daisy. Tom, for example, claims to love his wife but actually has a mistress. In fact, his extra-marital relations are a common theme in their marriage, as we see in this quote from chapter seven:

He nodded sagely. "And what's more, 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."

In contrast, Gatsby adores Daisy and does not have any interest in other women. All he wants to do is "recapture the past" in which he and Daisy were a couple.

Another major difference between Tom and Gatsby is their view of other races. Tom is clearly a racist person, as we see from this quote:

It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things.

Gatsby, on the other hand, does not demonstrate any racial or cultural prejudice. In fact, he has business dealings with Meyer Wolfsheim, a man of Jewish heritage. What this shows us is that Tom is defined by his ignorance and bigotry, while Gatsby is not.

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Yes, Tom's money is old money, meaning that he inherited it rather than works for it. In chapter 1 when Nick first discusses his cousin, Daisy, and her husband, Tom, he describes Tom's family as "enormously wealthy," saying that when Tom had come East, "he'd brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It was hard to realize that a man in [Nick's] own generation was wealthy enough to do that." This, in addition to the fact that Tom lives in the more fashionable East Egg (as opposed to West Egg, where Gatsby lives) allows us to understand his unique status in comparison to Gatsby. Later, when Tom grows suspicious of Gatsby, he says that "'A lot of these newly rich people are just big bootleggers, you know.'" It turns out that he is absolutely right. Gatsby has earned his fortune, albeit illegally, and both of these facts mean that his money is less valuable, in a way, than Tom's because it does not confer the same status.

Tom Buchanan may be a jerk, but he doesn't do anything illegal, as Gatsby does. However, he does cheat on Daisy, something Gatsby would never do, as Gatsby is utterly devoted to her. Early in the book, Tom takes Nick to meet his mistress, Myrtle, saying, "'I want you to meet my girl.'" The pair of men then meet Myrtle in the city so that Tom and Myrtle can sleep together while Nick waits a room away. Nick later calls him a "libertine," and Gatsby is certainly not that. Gatsby, on the other hand, tells Nick how -- even long ago -- "He felt married to [Daisy], that was all." Gatsby is devoted to Daisy in a way that Tom never has been.

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There are quite a few differences between these two men.  First of all, although both men are extremely wealthy, Tom's money came from his family wealth while Jay Gatsby made his money on his own, though he did it illegally. Tom also is characterized as a violent and prejudiced person who does not see why anything should be any way but his own. He looks down on people because of who they are or where they are from. Meanwhile, Gatsby's contrast is shown in how gentle he is toward Nick, Jordan, and especially Daisy, and in the fact that he is business partners with a Jewish man -- Meyer Wolfsheim. Finally, whereas Tom seems to be the one who is evil, it is actually Gatsby who is corrupt in business and who expects Daisy to leave her husband and child to be with him.

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