The Great Gatsby

The Bildungsroman Form in The Great Gatsby

Maturation and personal evolution of main characters typify the bildungsroman, a distinct novelistic form. The growth of characters Tom Buchanan, George Wilson, Jay Gatsby make F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and important example of the bildungsroman form.

Tom Buchanan matures from being a carefree, unfaithful husband to one who realizes the depth of his relationship and concern for his wife. In the opening of the novel, Tom is described as being a “freelance,” shameless man: “His acquaintances resented the fact that he turned up in popular restaurants with her and, leaving her at a table, sauntered about, chatting with whomsoever he knew” (24). Buchanan refers to his mistress as “my girl” (29), rather than referring to his wife as his lady. Only when Buchanan discovers that Daisy has her own relationship with another man – Gatsby – does he recognize the significance of his actions. After finding Daisy and Gatsby kissing in his own home, Buchanan finally acknowledges the pain he has felt: “And if you think I didn’t have my share of suffering - look here, when I went to give up that flat... I sat down and cried like a baby... by God it was awful” (179). Buchanan has clearly deepened.

Like Buchanan’s, George Wilson’s...

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