The Great Gatsby

The Unpleasant Tom Buchanan 12th Grade

Tom Buchanan is an important figure throughout the course of The Great Gatsby, and is used as Fitzgerald’s symbolic representation of the moral and emotional decadence of the era. Tom forms part of Fitzgerald’s social critique of the upper classes, and reflects the perceived lack of values beneath the “glittering façade” of the rich. Tom Buchanan is made repulsive to the readership through his violent aggression, buttressed in his vast wealth and his maltreatment of all those around him, including his wife. Thus, Fitzgerald ensures that the readers’ sympathies lie with the tragic hero of the novel - Gatsby.

Nick’s speculation about how Tom seemed to be constantly seeking “the dramatic turbulence of some irrevocable football game” presents Tom as a restless character whose endless demands are unable to ever be fully satisfied. Nick personification of Tom’s “supercilious mouth” and “shinning arrogant eyes” echoes Tom’s innate sense of superiority. Fitzgerald’s lexical choice of “aggressively”, “dominance” and “power” repulse the reader by portraying him as overassertive, forceful and conceited.

Moreover, the fact that “not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body” seems to denote...

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