Tom Buchanan Character Analysis

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Laila Perlman Leaning Aggressively Forward Tom Buchanan is not only in The Great Gatsby to provide an obstacle for Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship. He is crucial to The Great Gatsby because he is a key character at the turning point of the book, or the afternoon at the plaza. The afternoon at the plaza is also a scene that is essential to Tom’s character because it is one of the only times that Tom is heavily featured in the novel. Although he is very present in the dinner with Jordan and Daisy, and in the party at Myrtle’s apartment, he isn’t given much of an opportunity to display the traits that are crucial to his character. A large part of Tom’s character is his intense masculinity, which in his case is defined as physical strength, the …show more content…

Tom is often inarticulate in expressing is emotions, which works to his advantage as sensitivity was, and is, often considered an effeminate quality. On one occasion, Tom seems as though he has a moment of sentiment, he is taken “from the edge of the theoretical abyss” (121) and doesn’t continue the point he had been trying to make, as he can’t seem to find the right words. During the fight with Gatsby, however, Tom relies on insult and humiliation as his main argumentative technique. He uses insulting Gatsby in order to draw attention away from himself. For example, he claims that Gatsby turns his “house into a pigsty in order to have any friends” (130), which doesn’t have anything to do with Daisy or the affair, but is just a stab at Gatsby. He also refers to Gatsby as a “common swindler who’d have to steal the ring he put on her finger” (133). Tom exposes the fact that Gatsby would not be able to provide for Daisy, disproving Gatsby’s masculinity while assuring his own, and the fact that he is able to provide for Daisy. Not only is language, but also the way that Tom speaks is a way in which he upholds his masculinity. Rather than asking questions, he always “demanded” (121) them, so rather than asking, he is declaring that he requires an answer. Asking implies that he needs assistance, and to him, self-sufficiency is a masculine quality because it means being able to support yourself. Almost every description of the way Tom speaks is that he speaks forcefully or unpleasantly. He often “snapped” and “exploded” (131) in conversation, which suggests an interruption of conversation, which is in an effort to assert

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