The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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When Gatsby and Tom have a confrontation over Daisy, who “wins”? How do you know?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter 7, Tom, Daisy, Nick, and Jordan meet in the city and rent a room at the Plaza Hotel, where tensions come to a boiling point between Tom and Gatsby. When Tom criticizes Daisy for complaining about the heat, Gatsby defends her, which prompts Tom to finally expose Gatsby in front of his wife. Tom begins by questioning Gatsby's background before asking him what kind of "row" he is creating in his household. Gatsby responds by telling Tom that Daisy doesn't love him and never did, which is something that Daisy denies. Tom goes on to mention that Gatsby is associated with Meyer Wolfshiem and is involved in an elaborate scheme to sell grain alcohol over the counters of "drug stores." Tom then says,

That drug store business was just small change...but you’ve got something on now that Walter’s afraid to tell me about.

As Tom elaborates on Gatsby's criminal activities, Gatsby begins to vehemently deny everything. Daisy is astonished to learn that Gatsby is a bootlegger and slowly begins to draw away from him. Nick says,

It passed, and he began to talk excitedly to Daisy, denying everything, defending his name against accusations that had not been made. But with every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so he gave that up and only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undespairingly, toward that lost voice across the room.

By the end of their argument, Tom is confident that Daisy will no longer have feelings for Gatsby; he even allows her to ride home with him. Given Daisy's reaction, it is clear that Tom won the argument. Daisy is more concerned with her financial stability and social status than she is with love, which is why she chooses to remain with Tom. Daisy's attempt to distance herself from Gatsby indicates that Tom has won the argument.

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