Gatsby

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade September 2001

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In the novel, "The Great Gatsby," Tom Buchanan's haughty nature is shown through both his actions and his speech. In the beginning of the book, Tom is described by the narrator to have "arrogant eyes" and a "supercilious manner." Tom comes from an "enormously wealthy family" and allows his money to take over his life. He feels that he is above most others in society and his actions prove that he has no concern or guilt for his wrongdoings. Feeling that he is superior to all because of his wealth, Tom orders and controls his friends and family. When showing Nick Carraway, his wife's cousin, around his house for the first time, he insists, "I've got a nice place here," as he superficially brags about various items in his house that obviously have little importance to him. By not asking for Nick's opinion, yet implying that his house is wonderful, Tom's show haughtiness is seen.

As Nick is enjoying the view from outside the house, Tom demands, "We'll go inside" as he "urge[s] his arm imperatively under [Nick's]." In addition, when conversing with Nick, Tom inappropriately states that he is "stronger and more of a man" than Nick. This comment emphasizes Tom's egotistical stance and further proves what his wealth has done to him.

Tom's abusive actions toward others also display his lofty attitude. Daisy complains of her sore finger and accuses Tom of causing her knuckle to turn "black and blue." Yet Tom shows no concern and laughs it off as if it has little importance. Tom has a mistress as well, who calls quite often, sometimes even interrupting dinner. Knowing that he can get away with it, Tom does not care that Daisy knows about her. Once when visiting his mistress, she mentions Daisy's name, and he hits her with enough force to break her nose. He does this not out of respect for his wife, but because he feels his superiority is threatened, which again displays his abusive behavior. Tom is incapable of feeling guilt or any other emotion. He is devoted to nothing but the impulses of his own flesh and the demands of his ego, and is completely without any concept of moral codes. Another shallow attribute of Tom is that he explores books on prejudice and believes that he, as the "dominant race," has to watch out and control things or other races will try to take over. Tom's ideas are based on self-preservation and self interest rather than idealism.