Excessive Behavior in The Great Gatsby

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Excessive Behavior in The Great Gatsby

Excessive behavior is seldom a good thing. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a love story that takes place during the Roaring Twenties. Excess frequently leads to unhappiness. In this novel, Tom’s excessive behavior leads to the unhappiness of himself and other people. Tom’s excessive wealth, carelessness, aggressiveness, and abusiveness lead to the death of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson and Jay Gatsby, resulting in unhappiness for Tom as well as everyone involved.

Tom is excessively wealthy, careless, aggressive, and abusive. Tom inherited a large amount of money from his relatives. The narrator, Nick, says, “His family were enormously wealthy – even in college his
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Nick describes this, saying, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness of whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made” (188). His carelessness manifests itself through his abusive relationships. Aggression is his dominant feature, which can be seen when he walks, “in his alert, aggressive way, his hands out a little from his body as if to fight off interference, his head moving sharply here and there, adapting itself to restless eyes” (186). Nick considers him to be excessively aggressive when he believes that Tom implies superiority, adding the words to Tom’s speech mentally, “just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are” (11). Finally, Tom’s abusiveness dominates his life. This is a clear result of aggressiveness and carelessness. Tom is married to Daisy, but “he’s got some woman in New York” (19). His relationship with Daisy is unhealthy, and he ruins it himself by having affairs with other women, in particular Myrtle Wilson. Tom has the extreme characteristics of wealth, carelessness, aggressiveness, and abusiveness.

Tom’s extreme behavior leads to his own unhappiness. He is unhappily married as a result of his carelessness. Catherine observes of Tom and Mrs. Wilson that, “Neither of them can stand the person they’re married to” (37). Such an awkward marriage is clearly not…

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