The Great Gatsby

Foil character description between Gatsby and Tom

Since Tom is Gatsby's foil character, i need examples as to why that is, and references to the book, please and thank you.

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"Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face.. His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed." (pg 7)

This passage is a description of Tom's mannerisms, a comparison to the affluent men who think they justly have the right to dominate the people around them.

"His acqauintances resented the fact that he turned up in popular restaurants with her and, leaving her at a table, sauntered about, chatting with whomsoever he knew." (pg 24)

In this passage, Tom feels free to be out and about with his mistress; he has no remorse for his disloyalty to Daisy and doesn't feel the need to hide his actions.

"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." (pg 48)

Gatsby on the other hand is genuinely loyal to his friends. His character is completely opposite to that of Tom. It matters not that Gatsby is just as wealthy.......... unlike Tom he doesn't flaunt it or use it gain social acceptance with the upper class. He is also just a 'regular Joe,' he knows what he wants, is down to earth, and he uses his head. He's well loved for who is as a person, not for the money he possesses or the lavish entertainments her provides for others.


The Great Gatsby

Tom and Gatsby are certainly opposite. Tom comes from old money. That is he inherited all of it while Gatsby, though dubiously, is self made. Gatsby is simply a boy from North Dakota without connections, money, or education. While Tom is a product of the Ivy League Gatsby's education is through his "checkered" past. This discourse between Gatsby and Tom reflects Tom's condescending attitude towards Gatsby's "lesser" education and class. This attitude brings out Tom's demeaning class oppressiveness and Gatsby's very genuine world experience.

Gatsby’s foot beat a short, restless tattoo and Tom eyed him suddenly.

"By the way, Mr. Gatsby, I understand you’re an Oxford man."

"Not exactly."

"Oh, yes, I understand you went to Oxford."

"Yes – I went there."

Pause. Then Tom’s voice, incredulous and insulting: "You must have gone there about the time Biloxi went to New Haven."

Another pause. A waiter knocked and came in with crushed mint and ice but, the silence was unbroken by his "thank you." and the soft closing of the door. This tremendous detail was to be cleared up at last.

"I told you I went there," said Gatsby.

"I heard you, but I’d like to know when."

"It was in nineteen-nineteen, I only stayed five months. That’s why I can’t really call myself an Oxford man."

Tom glanced around to see if we mirrored his unbelief. But we were all looking at Gatsby.

"It was an opportunity they gave to some of the officers after the Armistice," he continued. "We could go to any of the universities in England or France."

I wanted to get up and slap him on the back. I had one of those renewals of complete faith in him that I’d experienced before. (7.208-221)