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The Great Gatsby: Tone and Diction

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In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mr. Jay Gatsby had once fallen in love with a young woman that he was soon to be taken away from by the war and by her family who told her to be involved with a rich and successful man not Mr. Gatsby. Five years later Gatsby recognizes this woman’s name in the paper and learns that she is now married to a “rich and successful” man named Tom Buchanan. Gatsby is then blessed with a new neighbor, Nick, who is cousins with Daisy, the woman Gatsby is in love with. Gatsby finds his way to get close with Nick and one day while out to lunch, Nick notices Tom. Unaware that his new friend had once had an amazing romantic relationship with Tom’s wife, Nick introduces the two men. Feeling a little uneasy about the situation “they shook hands briefly and a strained, unfamiliar look of embarrassment came over Gatsby’s face” (Fitzgerald 74). Meeting the man who is married to the woman he loves quickly made Gatsby feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. Adding to the uncomfortable situation, Gatsby is meeting Tom knowing that he loves Daisy but has not seen or talked to Daisy in many years; therefore not knowing how she feels about him.

Gatsby is usually very polite and does not want trouble with anyone however when he meets Tom he cannot think about pleasing him. Gatsby seems embarrassed and ashamed when he meets Tom for the first time but after he meets with Daisy a few days later he learns that she feels the same way about him. This information alters Gatsby’s mood entirely, from embarrassed to feeling somewhat pleased and motivated to make Daisy want to be with him and not her husband. Therefore, on a mission to impress Daisy, Gatsby invites her and Tom to one of his parties in which he tries to find any moment he can to now embarrass Tom. With a mansion full of guests, Gatsby introduces Daisy and Tom to many celebrities and introduces tom as a polo player.

Perceptibly Tom did not appreciate the name Gatsby had given him “but evidently the sound of it pleased Gatsby, for Tom remained “the polo player” for the rest of the evening” (Fitzgerald 105). By introducing Tom as a polo player to a group of celebrities, knowing that it bothered Tom, Gatsby wanted Daisy to realize she should be with him and not Tom. This devious remark pleased Gatsby because it not only showed Daisy that Tom is not impressive, it also demeaned Tom in front of Gatsby’s guests. Having some time to learn a little about Daisy and Tom, Gatsby had no reason to feel embarrassed around Tom. The two men would go back and forth trying to humiliate each other. First impressions are usually important however Gatsby and Tom act very different towards each other as they spend more time together.

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