How does The Great Gatsby portray masculinity and reinforce standards?

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Tom is portrayed as a bully and a brute. He is filthy rich, but that doesn't make him ideal. Gatsby is an idealist and romantic who is not filthy rich, but his romanticism and idealism do not make him ideal. Tom's type of man depicted in the novel as what one should not be Gatsby'

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The most macho man in The Great Gatsby is Tom.  He is a football stud and a bully and likes to impose his will on others.  He is also abusive, breaking Myrtle's nose with just a quick, reactive hit that takes little effort.  He also is filthy rich.


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he is judged and figuratively condemned by the narrator,Nick, repeatedly and often.  Thus, one could conclude that in the novel Tom's kind of man is established as what a male should not be. 

Gatsby is very much an opposite kind of man.  Gatsby is a romantic and idealist and thoughtful and considerate, for the most part.  He mistakenly believes in a past that never really occurred, and dedicates himself to recapturing a relationship that was never really what he thinks it was.  Daisy never loved Gatsby as much as he loves her.  He is a dreamer, in effect. 

Though Gatsby is certainly presented in a positive light, and he is certainly a better kind of "male" than Tom, one should be careful of holding up any character in the novel as ideal.  This is sophisticated fiction in which people are presented as mixtures of good and bad, if you want to use those terms.  Gatsby is not ideal, either.  He is, after all, a bootlegger and business partner with Wolfsheim. 

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