Examples Of Alcoholism In The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby. In the Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald demonstrates how the wealthy’s excessive consumption of alcohol brings out the worst in their characters. For instance, the negative parts of Tom’s personality are highlighted when he drinks. Tom drinks all throughout the party he attends with Nick. He becomes violent and aggressive with Myrtle, his mistress, and “making a short deft movement ...broke her nose with his open hand (Fitzgerald 41).” Tom’s altercation with Myrtle accentuates his hypocrisy and lack of self-control; while he doesn’t feel guilty for cheating on Daisy with Myrtle, he feels that he has the right to maintain his authority over Myrtle. In this same scene, Myrtle, who is also drunk, draws attention to the negative aspects of her personality.…show more content…
Gatsby has seen the the loss of control and negative effects associated with alcohol first hand during his experiences with Dan Cody, who even “sober knew what lavish doings Dan Cody drunk might soon be about.” As a result, Gatsby refrains from drinking in order to always present himself in an acceptable manner and therefore never reveals the worst aspects of his personality. Gatsby doesn’t even drink at his own lavish parties to the point at which Nick “wondered if the fact that he was not drinking helped to set him off from his guests, for it seemed to me that he grew more correct as the fraternal hilarity increased (Fitzgerald 55).” Gatsby’s refrain from drinking both adds to his charm and sophistication and allows him to keep a look out for Daisy, whom he hopes will be at one of his parties. This is one of the characteristics that make Gatsby ‘Great,’ allowing him to focus on his goals and giving him a huge edge over many of the other characters in the novel. It enables him to preserve his respectable identity as Jay
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