In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” Tom Buchanan’s attitude toward the other characters demonstrates his true personality. There are many things that make up his character which cause him to carry on in this manner.
His attitude stems from the way he was brought up by his parents, and the values they instilled in him. Throughout his life everything was handed to him on a silver platter. So Tom feels that world is at feet and that he can do whatever he wants to whoever he wants without having to suffer any repercussions. Tom is also a white supremacist, some of views are racist, though he does not make any direct racists statements throughout the book.
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This essay will show the relationships between Tom and other characters such as Gatsby, Myrtle, and Daisy. From the way he interacts with these it will show his true disposition.
The relationship of Tom Buchanan and his wife Daisy Buchanan is not all good. Tom treats his wife, not as a person but as an object. To him, Daisy is nothing but and possession. Because he only thinks of her as a possession it is easier for him to treat her without respect. The conclusion that he has no respect for Daisy come from the fact that he has had and probably will have extra-marital affairs. If Tom had any respect for Daisy he would not cheat on her and he would not treat her as a possession rather than a person. It is Daisy’s purity and selfishness which allows her to be so easily corrupted by Tom and his life style. Daisy’s only interest in Tom is his money. Tom know this and he knows that Daisy will never leave him therefore he can afford to cheat on his wife without a guilty conscience. To Tom this is the way that life should, he does not see the immorality of his actions.
Tom treats her this way because Daisy has no self respect, even though she knows he is cheating she makes no effort to try to stop his relationships with other women. He also treats Daisy as if what she says doesn’t matter. Although Tom is not as physical with Daisy as he is with Myrtle, he torments her emotionally by having a mistress and not trying to hide it at all.
In Tom’s mind he holds all the cards, and in a way he does because no one will stand up to him, except Gatsby. The more Daisy, Myrtle and everyone who is controlled by Tom let him continue, the more empowered he is.
In the relationship between Tom and Myrtle there is a lot of emotional abuse, and a fair amount of physical abuse. No matter how much he tries to hide his true self he always lets it slip out in one way or another.
An example of the physical abuse in their relationship is when Tom breaks Myrtle nose for saying Daisy’s name. When he commits this act it is a demonstration of his brutal mentality. He acts so quickly with out remorse.
Myrtle like Daisy has an interest solely in Tom’s money and she’ll let him do whatever he wants to her. Again, this is because of a lack of self-respect and the power to stick up for yourself. Tom is a smart man he will use someone weaknesses and faults to his advantage.
Tom’s is also very manipulative and he manipulate his women so that they are in a state of blaming it on them self. Though Myrtle knows that the way Tom treats her is wrong all she can see is the money and Tom through his actions says “I own you, I can do whatever I want to you and there isn’t anything you can do about it”.
The fact that he commit such a malicious act of breaking Myrtle’s nose with his open hand shows that Tom has no respect for women and also that he has no scruples.
The relationship between Tom and Gatsby is far from a friendly one. At first, Tom sees Gatsby as no treat to him or his family be cause he is totally oblivious to the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby. But when finds out that Daisy and Gatsby have had a relationship in the past, his opinion of Gatsby changes.
Tom is always accusing Gatsby of doing shady dealings and also to being a liquor bootlegger. He says things like this mainly because he feels extremely by Gatsby presence in his and Daisy’s lives.
Tom is a hypocrite plain and simple. No matter how much he tries to conceal it, it shows. He makes the statement “I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if that’s the idea you can count me out…” (137). He is saying that it is very wrong for Gatsby to have a relationship with his wife, but during all this he is having an affair with George Wilson’s wife.
Tom is tremendously threatened by Gatsby which is quite dangerous if a person has a mentality such as Tom’s, the feeling of being threatened causes the person to try to get of what ever threatens them. They’re animal instincts are activate and it turns into a “kill or be killed situation”.
As soon as Tom sees that Gatsby is making a play for daisy and that it might actually, he is scared. so, is looking for a way to get rid of Gatsby and he finds one when Myrtle is mowed down by Gatsby car. As he tells George Wilson that it was Gatsby’s car that killed Myrtle knowing full well that George had the intent to kill whoever had done it.
All Tom has to say for himself when confronted by Nick is “I told the truth… That fellow had it coming to him”(180). His true character show here, because Tom is responsible for Gatsby and he feels no remorse. His life was so saved so he does not care about anything else. His actions confirmed the thought of Tom being a malicious, calculating, sordid, and ill tempered individual.
In conclusion, from the relationships that Tom had with a few of the other characters in this book, the general assumption of Tom is that he is an arrogant, racist, egotistical, and remorseless human being.
Tom is most definitely the antagonist in the story. His controlling nature comes from getting everything that he wanted while he was growing up. He never knew the struggle on being which developed in him an ignorant attitude. Tom in one way or another corrupts everyone he meets. He corrupted Daisy by marrying where there was no love, he had an affair with Myrtle, he cause George to crazy by having and affair with Myrtle which causes George to kill Gatsby and himself.
Tom is indirectly responsible for the death of Myrtle, because if she had not been cheating on George he would not have a reason to lock her in the room and she would not have tried to escape. He is also responsible for Gatsby and George’s deaths.
But he is not sorry because in his mind its all about him. As long as no harm comes to him the everything is okay. The fact is that in actually Tom is a coward, he portrays himself as a big and tough man. He shows exactly when he breaks Myrtle nose, and when he doesn’t tell George the truth about what happened. A real man would have admitted to George that he had been cheating with his wife.
At the end of the book his true character shows as he flees from the town with Daisy to start life somewhere else. But what Tom does not realize is that running from our problems gets us nowhere. The thing he is running is himself. no matter where Tom goes in the world, trouble will follow him. He single-handedly killed three people on this book because of his egotistical attitude.
This teaches us that being arrogant and ignorant to other people feelings can only bring destructions to you and all the people around you. Because of his actions and attitude Tom did not have many friends or any for that matter, the only reason associated themselves with him was because he was rich. This confirms the saying ” money isn’t everything”.The question that arises is; Is a life without friends and people that love you really worth living?