‘The Great Gatsby’: Tom and Blanche Critical Essay
Loyalty refers to a state of being faithful and devoted to an individual or an institution. For one to be considered loyal, there should be a clear demonstration of the need to obey all the set rules. Different people attach their loyalty to various people and faiths among other things. Loyalty requires one to have some sense of duty or responsibility towards that which one is loyal.
Disloyalty, on the other hand, is the act of being not devoted to somebody or something. It refers to a state where one is unfaithful, not trustworthy, tells lies and other related vices. ‘The Great Gatsby’ book is a narrative of life experience of a young man who leaves his hometown for another one in the east in search of academic prosperity and success in life.
The young man comes from a relatively rich family, and he thinks that he has the responsibility to continue the legacy that was started by his great grandfather’s brother. He understands and appreciates the fact that his family expects him to be like his entrepreneurial uncle who died several years ago. He never saw him, but he is determined to live his legacy as expected by the family.
He knows that this may be not easy, but holds on to the pieces of advice that the father would give him frequently. To pursue his education goals he moves to the east where he meets his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom, an old friend from college.
Streetcar Named Desire is more of a play where we meet several actors like Blanche. This paper seeks to compare and contrast the loyalty and disloyalty of Tom and Blanche as demonstrated in the two books respectively. From the two books, it is clear that both characters are loyal to their families. Tom feels it is his duty to work hard to provide for his family.
He also works hard to ensure that his wealthy status continues even to the generations to come. When Daisy comments on Tom’s reading habits, Tom says, “It is up to us who are the dominant race to watch out for these other races will have control over things.” This statement describes Tom as not only being loyal to his family, but also to his race at large.
He feels that if not serious, their dominant race might be overthrown by another race. Like Tom, Blanche in the book of Street Car Named Desire, is loyal to her sister who is the only member of her family that we come across. Blanche is so much concerned about the relationship of her sister with Stanley. She is worried about her and tries to help the sister in every way possible to meet her needs.
Seeing the miserable life her sister Stella is living, Blanche persuades her to leave her husband and venture into a field that would give them money to meet with the life expenses. Blanche hopes to persuade Stella to leave Stanley. It is true that both characters are loyal to their jobs. The narrator explains that Tom has worked very hard to achieve a lot of wealth though at a very young age.
When the narrator visits Tom’s family, he is surprised by their beautifully and well built mansion. The narrator says, “Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay.” This statement shows that Tom is very much devoted to his work to an extent of acquiring such massive wealth in spite of his young age.
His achievements have made him show off to his friends. When talking to the narrator with a lot of pride, Tom takes him round his mansion to display its wealthy nature. Blanche also comes out as being very loyal to her teaching opportunity. She ensures that she does not quit teaching although with another duty at a certain hotel.
While criticizing Blanche’s behavior, Stanley says that “She has lived like a prostitute in a cheap hotel while also teaching in the local school.” This shows that although engaging in other immoral activities, Blanche could not forget her responsibility as a teacher of English. She was very kind to the learners and the entire learning institution.
It is also evident that both characters at some point are unfaithful to their partners. When Daisy and the cousin are discussing the birth of Daisy’s daughter, she complains that she did not know her husband’s whereabouts before her daughter is born. In this respect, the narrator also says, “As for Tom, the fact is that he had some woman in New York.” This demonstrates that Tom is not loyal to Daisy.
Though married, Tom seems to engage in some marital affairs with other women. On the other hand, Blanche meets another man by the name Mitch, who is now her boyfriend. However, we find Blanche being disloyal to Mitch when he kisses another man and also engages in an affair with another old man who is perceived to be a millionaire.
Stanley also refers to Blanche as promiscuous: “Blanche flirts with and kisses a young man who calls to collect subscriptions for a newspaper.” She even tells Stanley lies concerning her boyfriend Mitch which confirms the level of Blanche’s disloyalty to Mitch.
The Great Gatsby book brings out Tom showing some disloyalty to other people just like Blanche in the Streetcar Named Desire. From the narrator’s description of the nature and appearance of Tom, his attitude to other people and the outside world is clearly seen. The author describes Tom’s eyes as being shinny and arrogant and his body as appearing cruel.
These descriptions bring out Tom as a man who is very tough, and harsh to other people, which are signs of disloyalty. We see Daisy making fun out of her husband’s appearance. Although it was meant to be a light joke to provoke laughter, Tom takes it so serious that he objects the statement crossly saying “I hate that word hulking, even in kidding.” Some people are said to hate Tom’s guts, which confirms that the man is disloyal to others in one way or another.
Blanche is also unfaithful to Stanley and other people that are out to help her. From the book, it is clear that Blanche does not stay in her own house. She lives with her sister Stella who is accommodated by her friend Stanley. This is evidenced by Stanley’s attempt to send Blanche back to Laure by issuing her a bus ticket when her behavior annoys him.
Instead of being loyal to such a person who has accommodated her, Blanche is out to separate Stanley and her sister Stella. She is also harsh to Mitch who is said to offer her protection and company after the death of her husband by having sexual affairs with other men. When Blanche goes out for an date with Mitch, it is not successful. The author comments it this way:
“Blanche and Mitch return from unsuccessful evening out, and Blanche appears to be offended when Mitch tries to kiss her.” This means that these two friends did not agree on some issues, quarreled, or had some other differences that made the date unsuccessful, a statement that can be used to justify the disloyal character of Blanche. She also causes the death of her former husband, which is a sign of high degree of Blanche’s disloyalty to him.
As evidenced from the two books, Tom and Blanche are unfaithful to humanity. Their manipulative natures show that they do not even respect others’ families. Tom snatches Mrs. Wilson his wife and goes with her to New York where he engages in sexual affairs with Mrs. Wilson.
He makes the woman lie to her husband that she goes to see her sister who stays in New York, “so Tom Buchanan and his girl and I went up together to New York”. Tom forgets that he is married to Daisy, and manipulates Mrs. Wilson to leave her husband. Blanche has also tried in many occasions to manipulate her sister Stella to leave her husband and engage in an affair with an old man who is a millionaire. This affair would be played to his own selfish gains.
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