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Tom Buchanan, The Great Gatsby, and Destruction

“I couldn’t forgive him or like him but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified.  It was all very careless and confused.  They were careless people, Tom and Daisy–they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…I shook hands with him; it seemed silly not to, for I felt suddenly as though I were talking to a child.  Then he went into the jewelry store to buy a pearl necklace–or perhaps only a pair of cuff buttons–rid of my provincial squeamishness forever.”
-The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Brittany made the excellent point in a previous post of the extreme likability of Gatsby.  If there is an extreme likability to Gatsby, there is almost an equaled dislike for Tom Buchanan.  He is the archetypal character who, not necessarily villianous, simply expounds apathetic disinterest in the world around him.  To them the world is not unlike the modern credit card frazzlers who max out their cards.

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3 thoughts on “Tom Buchanan, The Great Gatsby, and Destruction

  1. Danny,
    First off, I am really loving all of these Gatsby posts. I miss being in my old high school English class.

    Ok, so there is a definite contrast in the way Fitzgerald develops the characters of Tom and Gatsby. However, both share the similar materialist lifestyle. So do you think that Fitzgerald is more sympathetic towards Gatsby rather than Tom because of the reason why he has become so materialistic? Meaning Gatsby set out to get rich mainly to obtain the love of Daisy. So although he still partakes in materialism so to speak, he has a more justified reason than Tom because he is doing it for the love of a woman, rather than the love of things. Or maybe I could be reading too far into it again… haha. I would definitely like to hear your thoughts though.

  2. Hey Brittany,
    I definitely agree there is a contrast. I hadn’t thought about it the way that you describe before. I just always liked Gatsby more because of the way that Nick describes. I hope to write more about Gatsby in the future and will think about that when I write.

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