Literary Essay on The Great Gatsby

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Middlebury College
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The book by the name The Great Gatsby is a tale written by a person known as Nick Carraway, a teenage boy who lived in Minnesota and narrates the narrative after some years after the actions had taken place back in the year 1922. The story begins the author shifts immediately to West Egg from Midwest, Long Island where he went to seek for employment opportunity as a bond salesman. While in the West Egg, Nick decided to pay a visit to his cousin Daisy Buchan who stays with the husband Tom Buchanan in East Egg and was once a hulking imposing man whom the author knew some time back.

Moreover, in the same town, Nick meets his golf-friend Jordan Berker who lived a good life even though Nick had a modest and grounded kind of a lifestyle. One particular day, Tom invited Nick to come and visit his mistress Myrtle where they ended up having some drinks that led to chaos between Myrtle and Tom that saw her nose dismantled. The book later introduces a wealthy Jay Gatsby who holds parties viewed to highlight all that is immoral and insincere in American society. Moreover, the book further discovers Gatsbys real beginnings that later transforms to a wealthy socialite (Doherty, 45). Tom Buchanan as the main character in the book is an aggressive, hulking and rich man who acts as the primary representative of old money and an individual who is less sympathetic with anything. Also, he develops hatred towards Gatsby over Daisys love; and also caught up with Myrtle Wilson who leads to danger for the people involved. Therefore, the essay paper shall discuss two character traits of Tom Buchanan as the main character and look into how his behaviors affect the theme of the novel.


Tom Buchanan is viewed to be one of the many colorful, interesting and enigmatic characters in the story of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald where he is considered to be a very hypocritical person when it comes to love matters. It is portrayed when he declines to allow Gatsby to get closer to Daisy since he thought that she would be tempted to fall in love with Gatsby and start a love affair with him. On his part, he does not entertain this and feels that he is the only person with the command and privilege to engage in an extramarital affair while the wife is forbidden to participate in the same activity.

Tom is also a racist and his dominance is another view of the common character traits and philosophies of the early mode of living, and it further explains why those behaviors were regarded to be inhuman and had to be eradicated from the society. Apart from being a racist, he is also an oppressor, short-tempered man, chaotic, fight women, and a no good man. However, his character plays a significant role in the theme in that; he portrays how the ancient world ideals used to operate and more so his perception of love, racism, wealth and women are similar to those of any other male who lived in the past times (Doherty, 46). Moreover, his consistent battles and clashes with Gatsby show the notion of how the ancient world will sooner or later involve into chaos with the modern world and how vicious the fighting would get.


As discussed in the thesis, hypocrisy in love is vividly outlined when he does not allow his wife Daisy to get closer to Gatsby as was the case in the past days where women were treated with no value and respect. He also believed in wealth as the only way that makes people happy and valued hence he possessed nothing without enough wealth as therefore he would not have been in possession of a beautiful wife, Daisy. Besides, without such wealth, he would not have gotten the large villa that he owned and could not have started an affair with anyone. Thus, it explains how the past elite class of people got their wealth which emerged immediately after the Great War that saw them flood around America (Hays, Peter 318).

His racism nature describes the history and old nature of the universe that is being restructured by the innovation of new events that aids in transforming the society and making it a better place for human habitation (Hays, Peter 318). It signifies why Tom is so harsh and as to why he hates Jay Gatsby very much, this is because he is afraid of that the entire universe he owned and the wealth he had would one day come crashing on him. Violence is seen in the study when Tom uses excessive force and physical strength to exploit those revolving around him, and this is evident when Myrtle taunts him with the name of his wife punching her in the face.


Fitzgerald theme is still significant since he engages some authors who are all involved in causing chaos with each other due to opposite personalities where Gatsby who is the main character who builds his reputation on rumors and overwhelming parties. So the theme highlights the dark side of the American dream, and his prose reflects the daylight assurance of the hope.


Works Cited

Doherty, Thomas. "The Great Gatsby." (2013): 45-47.

Hays, Peter L. "Oxymoron in The Great Gatsby." Papers on Language and Literature 47.3 (2011): 318.

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