AComparative Study of Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsbyfrom the Perspective of Values
1.1 A Brief Introduction to F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald is known as the most representative and typical writer in his time because his works are considered to be the microcosm of the Jazz Age. The publication of The Great Gatsbyestablishes Forster Fitzgerald' s position in the history of modern American literature and makes him the spokesman of theJazz Age( The 1920s is a short but special period in American history, which is called "Jazz Age"), he is also one of representative writers of the lost Generation in the 1920s. At the end of the 20th century, The Great Gatsbywas selected to rank second among one hundred of the best novels in a hundred years of English literature. American novelist E.L.Doctero （1945）said, When Fitzgerald was at the peak of his creation, he turned his understanding of the various forms of society into words (he was both a critic and a victim of society), and made at least one work: The Great Gatsby. His novels vividly reflect the disillusionment of the "American Dream" in the 1920s and show the spiritual aspect of the "wasteland era" of the American upper class during the Jazz Age.
1.2 A Brief Introduction to The Great Gatsby
Among Fitzgerald s many works, The Great Gatsbyoccupies a pivotal position, and many people treated The Great Gatsby as the climax of Fitzgerald s writing career. It contains his deep thought about the Jazz Age and he expressed his own attitude towards the society in 1920s by creating this great work.
The novel is narrated by Nick, who lived next to Gatsby in the West Egg of Long Island. Nick was invited by Gatsby to join Gatsbys lavish party. Nick got to know Gatsby since that party. Jay Gatsby was a poor child who dreamed of becoming a rich man. He loved Daisy very much but failed to marry her because he was a nobody. Then Gatsby had made great effort to become wealthy after retiring from the army. He finally made a career and bought a villa which was right across from Daisy's house. Gatsby often held luxurious parties to attract Daisys attention. Gatsby tried his best to regain Daisy but Daisy was no longer the same in Gatsbys imagination, and she would not leave Tom. Tom Buchanan came from one of the richest families in America and married Daisy five years ago, however, Tom actually was not an ideal husband, he was not nice to Daisy and he had other lovers which always made Daisy sad. Toms mistress was accidentally killed by Daisy, but Gatsby tried to protect her and concealed the truth. Unfortunately Mr.Wilson was misled by Tom and shoot Gatsby. At last, just a few people attended Gatsbys funeral, Tom and Daisy traveled to Europe without the slightest concern.
Although Gatsbys life was tragic, he still embodied American Dream since he made himself wealthy by his effort, what is more, we can see Gatsbys pursuit of dream. Gatsby represents people who start from scratch and fight for their dreams.
Tom Buchanan was a typically heir to wealth, unlike Gatsby, he was born in one of the richest families in America. However, a noble birth did not give him a noble personality. Tom was selfish and ruthless, he looked down on upstart and thought himself noble. Tom, on the other hand, represents the traditional American upper-class, who does not want to make progress and only knows how to have fun.
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