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Tom Buchanan Character Analysis

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It is said that readers are usually intrigued by villains, either due to their evil and complex personality or their extreme power and unlimited way of acting. Is the character of Tom Buchanan intriguing for the readers of this book? This aristocratic character is of extreme importance and interest for the readers due to the fact that since the beginning he is described as the owner of a very controversial and evil personality, which also sums up to his role as the nemesis of Gatsby, the hero of the novel. Buchanan is first conveyed by the narrator, Nick, as “a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty”, with “arrogant eyes” and “an enormous power” in his body. Through this use of imagery and by using both a descriptive visual image and a hyperbole…show more content…
Firstly, the fact that he constantly contradicts himself and his ideals may be terribly intriguing to the audience, as even if he seems to have an array of power and influence and presents himself as stable and determined to follow his own rules and force everybody around him to do the same, he does not follow them himself, as for instance, he criticizes cheating yet he has a mistress, and this is shown when he comments that: “nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white.” This may make him a fascinating character for readers, as he contains two personalities in his own self; the noble and prestigious aristocrat on the one hand, and the rich and powerful yet rule-breaking bad boy on the other. Perhaps, the instance of antithesis in “black and white” may be used to reinforce this sense of his way of thinking being a dichotomy within one same individual, as if he had a doppelgänger, causing him to be even more interesting to the readers. What is more, the character of Buchanan may be indeed attracting to the audience in that same exact quotation as he is presented by Fitzgerald as extremely racist, an aspect that may have not been rare in the 1920s, considering the idea of white supremacy that existed…show more content…
Tom Buchanan certainly is to an extent hated not only by readers as he is sexist, racist and arrogant, but also by the other characters. Even though Nick Carraway – the narrator – is Daisy’s cousin and Tom used to be his college mate, he always throws hints to the readers portraying the disgust that he feels for his beloved cousin’s husband. Carraway always, from beginning to end of The Great Gatsby, coveys Tom through the use of bleak imagery, such as when he presents him as the owner of “a cruel body.” Through this specific personification, Fitzgerald may be intending to depict how every single part of Buchanan’s body presents evilness and perhaps, may epitomize him as if he were a monster. This sense that this character is even hated by a member of his inner circle, by one of his close friends may be evidential support of this hate that most characters feel towards Buchanan, and this happens to most villains stereotypically. Conceivably, this hypocritical relationship between Tom and Nick may be used by Fitzgerald to generate criticism to the contemporary lack of social values and this idea of social decay that prevailed in the 1920s. Furthermore, the readers – as mentioned before – feel disgust and antipathy for Buchanan due to his racist and male chauvinist sayings and behavior.
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