The Nature Of Man In The Great Gatsby

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Ryan Johnson Ms. Conlon English 11CP 26 February 2018 The Nature of Man Frederick Buechner once said, “Lust is the craving for salt of a man who is dying of thirst.” In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald depicts the nature of man with the actions of two truculent and cowardly characters: George Wilson and Tom Buchanan. With first glance, the two characters seem to be on different ends of the spectra, with Tom living a lavish life in the upper class and George struggling to survive in the lower class, however, these characters are more similar than different. Through Tom and George’s violent acts, inhumane attitudes toward women, and shrewd personalities, these characters contribute to Fitzgerald’s view of the cold-hearted nature of man. From the beginning of the novel, it is evident that both Tom and George carry out acts of violence to assert their dominance or to please their selfish desires. For instance, when Tom gets furious at Myrtle, his mistress, for speaking Daisy’s name(Tom’s wife), Tom, “making a short deft movement, [...] breaks [Myrtle 's] nose with his open hand(37).” This scene, without doubt, portrays Tom’s lack of respect for women and it shows that Tom views Myrtle as nothing more than an object that is meant to please his sexual desires. Tom sees himself as a superior to Myrtle and feels that he has the right to punish and put her back into her submissive role when she steps out of line. Similarly, Wilson is also prompted to violence by
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