Tom Buchanan - “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Comprehensive Analysis of Literary Protagonists - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Tom Buchanan - “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Nuanced Portrait of Wealth and Morality: Tom Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby"

Determine the Type of Character

Tom Buchanan is a fascinating figure in "The Great Gatsby," written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Tom proves that he is not a static character by going through major development and revealing many aspects of his nature throughout the book. His relationships with other characters and the events that take place help to paint a complicated picture of a man whose privilege and money do not exempt him from moral dilemmas and inner turmoil.

Examine the Character's Position in the Narrative

The main antagonist in the story is Tom Buchanan, who stands in opposition to Jay Gatsby, the protagonist. Tom, Daisy Buchanan's husband, is a symbol of the old money aristocracy and the decadence and moral decline of the Jazz Age. But Tom's function is not limited to that of an opponent; his deeds and convictions propel the events that transpire, offering the reader a prism through which to examine themes of riches, social status, and the American Dream.

Look Into the Past of the Character

Tom Buchanan represents the elites of East Coast society; he comes from a well-to-do and well-established family. His sense of entitlement is influenced by his background, which includes a prominent education and a history of athletic achievement. Tom's upbringing, which placed a high importance on privilege and position, has a big impact on his thoughts and behavior throughout the book.

Examine Personality Traits of the Character

Positive and negative characteristics coexist in Tom Buchanan, illustrating the complexity of his personality. Positively, he is charismatic, physically strong, and full of confidence. These attributes, meanwhile, are frequently overwhelmed by his haughtiness, violence, and obvious contempt for other people. His treatment of his wife Daisy and other people, as well as his racist and sexist views, all add to his unfavorable image.

In Chapter 2, Tom makes it clear that he believes in racial supremacy when he discusses "the rise of the colored empires." This racist ideology casts Tom as a representative of the prevalent biases in his socioeconomic class and highlights the larger societal difficulties of the day.

Assess the Character's Interactions

Relationships are very important in how Tom develops as a person and how the story unfolds overall. Emotional manipulation and betrayal characterize his marriage to Daisy. Tom's extramarital romance with Myrtle Wilson exposes the poisonous nature of his connections in addition to his moral failings. His interactions with Gatsby also demonstrate a strong desire to maintain his social standing and a possessiveness.

Tom's connections act as a microcosm of the societal deterioration that Fitzgerald portrays in the larger framework of the book. The moral emptiness and superficiality that defined the upper class during the Roaring Twenties are reflected in Tom and Daisy's hollow marriage.

Examine the Behavior of the Character

Tom's actions play a crucial role in advancing the plot and exposing the thematic issues of the book. His choice to question Gatsby about his relationship with Daisy sets up a dramatic exchange that reveals how flimsy Gatsby's ideal is. In this moment, Tom's forceful and controlling demeanor highlights the detrimental effects of wealth and social standing.

In addition, Tom's involvement in revealing Gatsby's illicit actions is a critique of the moral decay that results from chasing the American Dream in the Jazz Age. Tom's activities play a part in Gatsby's tragic outcome and, indirectly, in the criticism of how the pursuit of wealth has distorted the American Dream.

Determine the Conflicts the Character Faces

Tom Buchanan is dealing with both external and internal issues. He struggles with his own fears of losing the social standing that defines who he is on the inside. On the outside, he struggles with the new dynamics that Gatsby's presence in his and Daisy's lives has brought about. A major issue in the book is the struggle between the new and old money, as symbolized by Gatsby and Tom, respectively.

The conflicts in the story are heightened by Tom's racial and social prejudices, which mirror the greater social tensions of the period. His altercation with Gatsby over Daisy turns into an expression of these tensions, showing how individual aspirations collide with social norms.

Evaluate Character Development or Shift

Even though Tom changes a little, especially in realizing how much his marriage has suffered, his basic principles and views don't really change. Tom reflects for a time after learning of Daisy's infidelity, but his choice to make amends with her raises questions about whether social standing came before happiness.

Tom's lack of significant development emphasizes how deeply ingrained the social problems the book challenges are. His incapacity to overcome the social pressures that control his life is a commentary on the pervasive power of privilege and class in the Jazz Age.

Provide Proof to Back Up Your Analysis

Several examples in the text support the character analysis of Tom Buchanan. His claim that "it's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things," for instance, demonstrates his racist beliefs. This quotation not only demonstrates his bigoted viewpoints but also links him to the larger racial unease of the 1920s.

During the argument with Gatsby, Tom exhibits his aggressive conduct. His physical domination and loud words reflect his intention to keep control over his life. Furthermore, Tom's disdain for human decency and moral limits is demonstrated by his adulterous affair with Myrtle and his contemptuous behavior toward her.

Determine the Significance of the Character

To sum up, Tom Buchanan's persona functions as a complex metaphor in "The Great Gatsby." He represents the moral decline and decadence of the upper class during the Jazz Age as the enemy. The novel's examination of the American Dream's corruption is aided by his representation of old money and established social systems.

Tom's interactions, decisions, and disputes highlight the contrasts between society and individuals that characterize this era. Even though Tom doesn't experience much personal development, his character is still crucial to the story's condemnation of the pointless chase of wealth and prestige. In the end, Tom Buchanan serves as a figure of caution, a symbol of the disastrous effects of unbridled privilege and the ethical sacrifices that go along with it.