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Possible Gatsby Essays

Possible Gatsby Essays



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Published by: michelle_cartwright1794 on Aug 16, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Essay 1
Character Analysis of Tom Buchanan from the Great Gatsby
 Out of the five main characters in the Great Gatsby, I disliked Tom Buchanan themost ( however his wife Daisy was a close second). He just didn't seem like he wasa nice person, and he also seemed extremely self-absorbed. I don't believe that heand I would choose the same values that we would consider important in guidingour lives.One of Tom's important values is wealth. He was very rich and thought that it madehim superior to other people. He enjoys showing off his possessions, " I've got anice place here. It belonged to the Demaine oil man" (Great Gatsby, 12). In thiscase, Tom is showing Nick his house and obviously thinks that because it belongedto the Demaine oil man that it makes it a little more important. Tom thinks that poor  people are inferior to him and he is quite the snob. He is from old money and oftenrefers to the newly rich as " bootleggers", people who distributed alcohol during prohibition. Tom doesn't think much of Gatsby , and claims that he pegged him as a bootlegger the moment he saw him. When Daisy tells Tom that she is leaving himfor Gatsby he says, " She's not leaving me! Certainly not for a common swindler who'd have to steal the ring to put on her finger!" ( 140). Later, Tom even sendsDaisy home with Gatsby , adding that his presumptuous flirtation was over.Power and control over people is something that Tom considers important inguiding his life. Throughout the novel he has shown, time and time again that he isthe type of person who likes to control others and what they do. Sometimes he isnothing more than a bully and other times he is just cruel. He often talks to GeorgeWilson, his mistress' husband about selling him his car, which he never actuallyintends to do. He is simply toying with the man, but becomes angry when Wilsontries to talk to him about it: " Very well then , I won't sell you the car at all... I'munder no obligations to you at all...And as for your bothering me about it at lunchtime I won't stand for that at all!" (122). Tom was being extremely cruel at thatmoment because Wilson needed the money that would come from the car and Tomdidn't care. There are times when Tom loses his temper when people don't obeyhim. When Myrtle Wilson started shouting Daisy's name ( she said that she couldsay it whenever she wanted to), Tom broke her nose. Later in the novel Tomcouldn't stand it when he realizes that his wife and mistress were " slipping precipitately from his control". He confronts Gatsby in the hotel and says, " Isuppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make loveto your wife. Well, if that's the idea then you can count me out" (137). Tom couldn'tstand having control so he made a scene. After ridding Daisy of whatever courageshe had, he ordered her to go home. That was how he handled the situation.Tom also values aesthetics, which means " tasteful or sensitive to beauty". That isnot to say that his actions are very tasteful, but that he acts like man of high classand good taste. He buys extravagant things such as a bunch of polo ponies or a$350 000 string of pearls for Daisy. He is concerned with what he sees as the lossof his own high status and is the perfect example of "old money". He is extremely pompous : he married the girl that everyone wanted and when he did that he camefrom Chicago " with a hundred people in four private cars and hired a whole floor of the Seelbach Hotel". Tom values expensive things that are both beautiful andtasteful.
 In 1920s, after WW1, USA went under a radical change and social reform took place.The developments in industrialization caused a decay in moral values. This resulted inmaterialism’s obliteration of the doctrines and rules of moral duties. Thus, the societywas torn apart due to the clash between old and new values. The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald reflects the American society during this period and clearly portraysthe contrast between traditional and corrupted values by manifesting the distinctcharacter traits, attitudes and habits of the characters; their individual patterns of typical lives and thoughts about the others.Old values represent the traditional life style and are based on morality and virtue.The characteristics of these values are portrayed by some characters, events andsettings throughout the book. Firstly, old values give one a sense of right or wrongand an obedience to social conventions. For example, Nick, the narrator of the book who lives according to these values says that he is slow thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on his desires. Then he observes the people around him andadds that he is one of the few honest people that he has ever known (64). His ideasshow that spiritual values such as self-control, honesty and human respect aresignificant but rare. Secondly, the old life style includes close and warm friendshipsthat depend on respect and love. Gatsby trusts Nick and shares his secrets with him.They establish a genuine friendship. This emphasizes the importance and scarcity of sincere relationships. Furthermore, the old life style is characterized by a certainmodesty in which wealth and public show of it are not the only sources of validation.This way of life is illustrated by the settings of the book. For instance, West Egg,where Nick and Gatsby live, corresponds to the traditional life style. Nick describesthis place and writes: “I lived at West Egg, the-well, the less fashionable of the two.(...) My own house was an eye-sore but it was a small eye-sore and it had beenoverlooked” (9).We understand that this place is associated by old-fashioned stability,modesty and frugality; concepts that are meaningful according to the old moral code.On the other hand, after WW1 as people got away from the traditional life style, their moral considerations were suspended. These changes are illustrated by the personalities, behavior and life styles of several characters in the book. Firstly, thesecharacters are concerned chiefly and only with themselves. As Nick observes Tom and

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