In The Great Gatsby, many characters were portrayed, all with their own little quirks and characteristics. However, one of the most interesting characters is Tom. That is because he is one of the most arrogant, self-serving characters in the book. He sometimes bursts out with white supremacist ideas, such as when he mentions that whites created civilization. He also has the habit of putting people down, such as when he has an affair with Myrtle, and makes fun of her husband. Lastly in an attempt to save himself, he sets a mourning George Wilson onto Gatsby.
In the 1st chapter, Tom displays his arrogance when he says, “The idea is if we don’t look out, the white race will be – will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff, it’s all been proved.” When he says this, he means that the white race is superior to all the other races. Since Tom is white, he is basically saying that he is better than others, a sign of his arrogance.
Another example of Tom’s arrogance is how he puts down Myrtle’s husband. In chapter 2, he says, “He thinks she goes to see her sister in New York. He’s so dumb he doesn’t know he’s alive.” He basically makes fun of George Wilson in a bully – like fashion. This shows that not only is Tom arrogant, he judges others without judging himself; after all, he is the one conducting an affair, not George.
An example of how Tom can be utterly self – serving can be seen when he sets a distraught George Wilson on Gatsby. He admits doing this to Nick on page 187, where he says, and “I told him the truth… He came to the door while we were getting ready to leave and when I sent down word that we weren’t in he tried to force his way upstairs. He was crazy enough to kill me if I hadn’t told him who owned the car. His hand was on a revolver in his pocked every minute he was in the house ---… What if I did tell him? That fellow had it coming to him. He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy’s but he was a tough one....