Character Analysis of Tom Buchanan in the Great Gatsby

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  • Topic: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby
  • Pages : 3 (1387 words )
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  • Published : April 3, 2013
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Tom Buchanan is one of the many colourful, intriguing and enigmatic characters of the masterpiece “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He is the antagonist of the novel and rightly so. He is racist, a hypocrite, an immoral cheater, a short-tempered brute and misogynistic. Tom is also part of an old and out dated sort of world that is being swamped all-round the edges by a new and better society. That is the reason why he is acting so tough and also why he hates Jay Gatsby so much, it is because he is afraid, afraid that the world that he knows and all the old-fashioned values of love, wealth and masculinity will come crashing down on him. He dislikes Gatsby because he is part of the new generation and he got rich by a different way to himself, Gatsby also steals his wife from right under his nose. Tom and Gatsby’s conflict is symbolic of the same conflict that existed between the old world of pre 1920s and the new world that spawned from the ashes of the Great War and the prohibition era. Tom Buchanan stands for everything about the old world and why that world and all its ideas and values must be demolished in order to make a new and better world.

Tom Buchanan has a very different view of love and his view might be thought of as strange or even despicable when thought upon by today’s civilised citizens. But we must remember that his views were considered as normal and even commonplace as viewed by his fellow contemporaries with similar ideas. He starts an affair with a girl of a lower socio-economic class, a woman named Myrtle Wilson. She is described as, “A thickish figure of a woman…. She was in the middle thirties and faintly stout.” Myrtle is the wife of a poor, hardworking but timid mechanic called Wilson who owns a garage and enters a business deal with Tom and is constantly harassed by him. He doesn’t treat her very well however as he views her only as an object of desire and one time he let his short fuse take over and lashed out at Myrtle...
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