A Comparison Of The Marriage Of Tom
And Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby) With Willy And Linda Lowm Essay, Research Paper
The Common Faults of MarriagesMany marriages endure hardships and often result in destruction. In the literary work The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald describes the material wealth experienced by the upper class during the Roaring Twenties. In particular, Fitzgerald depicts the lives of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, a rich married couple who live a luxurious and carefree lifestyle. Unfortunately, their lack of responsibility ultimately results in the destruction of their marriage and of those around them. In contrast, ?Death of a Salesman? by Arthur Miller illustrates the lives of a poor and hardworking couple named Willy and Linda Lowman. Miller focuses on the adversity of the middle class after World War II; he expresses the harsh realities experienced when achieving the American Dream. Like many couples, they make many wrong decisions that cause negative repercussions within their marriages. The existence of destruction in their relationships is apparent in the element of faithfulness, the display of mutual respect for one another and the style of parenting.
The element of faithfulness in the marriage of Tom and Daisy Buchanan is non-existent. For instance, the couple is simply committed to the idea of matrimony and not to the person in which they are wedded. Nick Carraway observes that,
Daisy and Tom were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table?He was talking intently across the table at her, and in his earnestness his hand had fallen upon and covered her own. Once in a while, she looked up at him and nodded in agreement. They weren?t happy?and yet they weren?t unhappy either. (Fitzgerald 138)
Tom is indifferent to his spouse as is she to him. They only show affection towards one another because they feel it is their duty as a married couple. Furthermore, Daisy is easily persuaded by her lover Jay Gatsby into leaving her husband. During the argument that ensues at the hotel, Gatsby notifies Tom that Daisy will be under his care from that point onward. After much encouragement, Daisy abandons Tom by saying, ?I never loved him? (Fitzgerald 126). A woman who is truly committed to her husband does not publicly condemn him. Moreover, Tom is openly unfaithful to his wife, which is illustrated when Tom stops at Wilson?s garage before going into town. Tom casually tells Nick, ??we?re getting off?I want you to meet my girl?? (Fitzgerald 27). A man who values his marriage does not shame himself by making known his infidelity. The lack of faithfulness in the marriage only allows sentiments of distrust and dislike.
In contrast, the element of faithfulness is predominant in the marriage of Willy and Linda Lowman. Willy and Linda are committed to married life and love each other very much. For example, after the argument where Biff tells his father he is leaving, Linda tells Willy to come to bed. Willy ?taking her in his arms said, ?in a few minutes, Linda. I couldn?t sleep right now. Go on, you look awful tired. He kisses her? (Miller 134). Unlike Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Willy and Linda possess natural warmth and tenderness in their relationship. Additionally, Linda is tremendously faithful to her husband, which is contrary to Daisy who can easily be won. Trying to reconcile the differences between Biff and Willy, Linda tells Biff,
You can?t just come to see me, because I love him?He?s the dearest man in the world to me, and I won?t have anyone making him feel unwanted and low and blue. You?ve got to make up your mind now, darling, there?s no leeway anymore. Either he?s your father and you pay him that respect, or else you?re not to come here. (Miller 55)
In spite of her love of her son, Linda remains forever faithful to her husband regardless of all his weaknesses. Moreover, Willy cheats on Linda but feels awful and regrets his actions. When out of town, Biff goes to his father for help because he fails math and he catches Willy with another woman. Willy, tries to explain himself, ?She?s a buyer. Buys for J.H. Simmons. She lives down the hall ? they?re painting. You don?t imagine?Now listen pal, she?s just a buyer. She sees merchandise in her room and they have to keep it looking just so?She?s nothing to me, Biff. I was lonely, I was terrible lonely? (Miller 120). In contrast to Tom, Willy cheats on his wife but he feels the need to keep it a secret because he is ashamed and afraid that Linda might leave him. The element of faithfulness exhibited in the marriage breeds feelings of complete love and trust.
Within the marriage of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, there exists a lack of mutual respect. This disrespect is illustrated by Tom, who does not value the opinions of his wife. Daisy suggests going to town on a hot summer day and Tom breaks out savagely, ?I don?t see the idea of going to town?women get these notions in their heads? (Fitzgerald 114). Tom thinks he is more intellectually sound than his wife and publicly dismisses her ideas as those of a foolish woman. In addition, Daisy does not care about her husband as much as she cares about herself. Nick secretly invites Daisy over for tea to meet Gatsby and warns her, ?Don?t bring Tom? and she innocently replies, ?Who is Tom?? (Fitzgerald 81).
Although Nick is her cousin, a loyal married woman should be suspicious about the motives behind being invited to tea without her husband. Instead, Daisy jokes around and pretends to not know who Tom is and eagerly accepts the invitation because it might bring her pleasure. Moreover, Tom does not respect Daisy, which results in his need to control her. Nick observes that, ?Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisy?s running around alone, for on the following Saturday night he came with her to Gatsby?s party. Perhaps his presence gave the evening its peculiar quality of oppressiveness? (Fitzgerald 100). It is essential to Tom?s that he knows everything regarding his wife, not because he loves her, but because he thinks she will embarrass him with her promiscuous ways. The absence of mutual respect in the marriage of Tom and Daisy encourages a damaging and unequal marriage.
Likewise, the marriage of Willy and Linda lacks the component of mutual respect. For instance, similar to Tom, Willy does not respect the opinions of his wife. Linda questions whether Bill Oliver will remember Biff and Willy snaps at her saying, ?Remember him? What?s the matter with you, you crazy? If he?d stayed with Oliver, he?d be on top by now! Wait?ll Oliver gets a look at him. You don?t know the average calibre anymore? (Miller 67). Willy verbally abuses his wife belittling her at every chance he can get. Unlike Daisy, Linda values her husbands thoughts and his existence. Before Linda tells her boys about their fathers attempts at suicide, she says, ?Oh boys, it?s so hard to say anything like this! He?s just a big stupid man to you, but I tell you there?s more good in him than in many other people? (Miller 59). Linda is not ashamed of admitting her love and reverence for her husband, which is opposite of Daisy who jokingly denies her husbands existence. Moreover, Willy also has the need to control his wife. Before Willy leaves for work, he catches his Linda mending her stockings and angrily takes them away declaring, ?I won?t have you mending stockings in this house! Now throw them out!? (Miller 39). Like Tom, Willy must control the activities of his wife right down to her daily chores because he is chauvinistic. The lack of mutual respect in the relationship of Willy and Linda causes the destruction of Linda?s self-esteem.
Tom and Daisy Buchanan possess poor parenting skills, which results in an even poorer relationship with each other. For example, Tom and Daisy do not regard Pammy as an important part of their lives. Daisy has guests over for lunch and her daughter comes in wearing a dazzling white dress. Daisy commenting on her daughters breathtaking appearance remarks, ?she doesn?t look anything like her father? (Fitzgerald 112). Daisy begrudges Pammy because she is a symbol of her and Tom?s failed marriage subsequently preventing Daisy from really loving her daughter. As well, Tom and Daisy never spend any time trying to cultivate a loving relationship with their daughter. The birth of a child is generally a time of togetherness, but at Pammy?s birth her mother says, ?she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where, and I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling? (Fitzgerald 22). Tom and Daisy do not welcome Pammy into the world with open arms and affection. They are unable to show affection towards Pammy because they lack affection within their own relationship. Additionally, Daisy wants an unflattering future for her daughter. At Pammy?s birth, when Daisy is notified that the child is a girl, she cynically says, ??Alright, I?m glad it?s a girl. And I hope she?ll be a fool ? that?s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool? (Fitzgerald 22). Daisy?s bitterness only causes problems within her marriage and will prove damaging for her daughter?s life. Tom and Daisy do not love and nurture their daughter as good parents should, resulting in a spoilt childhood and negative ramifications in their marriage.
Similarly, Willy and Linda Lowman also lacks effective parenting skills resulting in resentment from his favourite son Biff. For instance, Willy likes to show off his children even though his praise is not justifiable. One afternoon at Charlie?s office, Bernard who has become a successful lawyer asks about Biff and Willy lies saying, ?Well, he?s been doing very big things in the West. But he decided to establish himself here. Very Big (Miller 91). Willy is angered because Biff does not become successful and resents him for it; as a result, Willy takes out his enmity on Linda. In contrast, Willy and Linda both play an active roll in the lives of their children while they are growing up. The family is on their way to a football game and Biff tells his father that he is going to score a touchdown just for him, Willy ?kisses Biff and brags, ?Oh, wait?ll I tell this in Boston!?? (Miller 32). Although Willy Lowman exhibits traits of a poor parent, he makes up for it by spending time with his sons and his wife creating a loving relationship. Unfortunately, Willy?s obsession with Biff achieving the American Dream causes his son to abhor him. Before Biff leaves forever, he tells his father, ?And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody! That?s whose fault it is!? (Miller 131). Willy never let his son choose his own destiny consequently causing many arguments between himself and his wife. The Lowman?s loves their son wholeheartedly but have many conflicts of interest resulting in unnecessary tension.
Through the element of faithfulness, visible lack of mutual respect and the exercising of poor parenting skills, Tom and Daisy Buchanan and Willy and Linda Lowman experience destructive relationships. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald reveals the marriage of a couple who have no worries and possess everything they could possibly desire, except real love. Tom and Daisy only marry because they like the concept of married life and they wish to maintain their affluence. In their relationship, Fitzgerald conveys the lack of morals and devaluing of pure love in present day marriages. In contrast, ?Death of a Salesman? by Arthur Miller depicts the marriage of Willy and Linda Lowman; whose marriage degenerates as they work hard to rid themselves of worries in order to achieve the American Dream. The Lowman?s longing to be successful causes a rift between Linda and Willy as he is away from home working. Miller illustrates the common belief that the most important aspect of life is to achieve success even if the cost is poor family relations. The underlying message of both works is that money, whether long-standing or in the pursuit of achieving does not bring happiness and results in the destruction of marriages.
Works CitedFitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Toronto: Penguin, 1950.
Miller, Arthur. ?Death of a Salesman?. Toronto: Penguin, 1976.