How Does Tom Buchanan Represent 1920's Society in the Great Gatsby?

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 2 (702 words) Published: May 30, 2013
How does Tom Buchanan represent 1920’s society?

Tom Buchanan plays a large role in the great Gatsby and is greatly representative of the rich “old money” part of society, and, in many ways what was wrong with it. F. Scott Fitzgerald may have made Tom a villain because of their rejection of him in his earlier life. Fitzgerald has used Tom in The Great Gatsby, to demonstrate the power that men had during the 1920s. In order to understand Tom's purpose in the book, it must be known that he has been purposely set up as a character the reader does not like. Fitzgerald has done this, as he does not like men whose lives mirror Tom's. Tom is a violent man, who is completely in control of the women in his life. He shows how disrespectful some men were to women. For example, he breaks his mistress Myrtle's nose. 

In the Great Gatsby Tom is represented as a muscular “brute” of a man with a short temper and little morals, these characteristics are shown throughout the book through his actions, the first being his complete lack of morals as he has an affair with another man’s wife, Myrtle, and even lies to her, saying that Daisy is a “catholic” and she does not “believe in divorce”. This anti-moralistic attitude that Tom employs is directly representative of 1920’s society, as not only was this a time when there was increased sexual independence (especially within women) but it was also a time when morals were dropped and the society as a whole became much more careless. The anti-moralistic arrogance was enthused by the criminal underworld which in many ways was fuelled by the prohibition of alcohol.

Tom’s short temper is also shown throughout the book and is particularly prevalent when he strikes myrtle when he is drunk, “making a short, deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand” this misogynistic part of his personality again creates links between him and the 1920’s society, as, women were becoming less and less respected as they became more...
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