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An Overbearing Presence in The Great Gatsby Essay


In this selection, Tom Buchanan is an extremely overbearing and dominant person. He possesses a strong physical physique as well to complement his personality. Often times throughout these chapters Tom interrupts someone or talks over someone, representing his dominant personality. His relationship with his wife also is a great representation of his dominance. Fitzgerald outlines his brute physicality and blunt personality with intentional syntax and diction choices.

In Chapter one and two of The Great Gatsby, Tom is largely the main focal point of the chapters. Despite being the focal point, he rarely says a line more than 6 words. His lines are short and demanding, and often interrupt someone. For example, he interrupts his wife Daisy several times. Thats what I get for marrying a brute of a man, a great, big, hulking physical specimen of (12). Tom then interrupts with, I hate that word hulking (12). This line is a perfect representation of his personality. The interruption represents his overbearing character. Also the fact that he does not respond to the actual context of Daisys statement, but rather with his opinion shows his dominance. Fitzgerald evolves the character of Tom into a hulking being. The physicality of Tom is carefully outlined as, [ a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and supercilious manner (7). The chosen adjectives all bring attributes of Toms physical appearance to life. His steadfast base is unfaltering. Unable to be shifted, his dominance is depicted as Fitzgerald further illustrates that Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body [.] (7). The adjective enormous further builds the towering and brute description of Toms appearance. Not even his clothing, loose upon his frame, could hide his body. The sole adjective that summarizes his mammoth physique is cruel. Capable of inflicting pain upon others allows the reader to finally see the pure force and leverage this man possesses. The fact that Tom has a woman in New York that he sees, despite having a wife, shows that he does not have a sense of others emotions. Rather he cares about only his own emotions and dominating those around him. A conversation with Wilson also depicts his personality perfectly, Works pretty slow, dont he? Tom responds, No, he doesnt. And if you feel that way about it, maybe Id better sell it somewhere else after all. (25) This dialogue shows truly how demeaning Tom is. Although one scene in particular shows Toms personality the best. Mrs. Wilson, Toms mistress, argued with Tom whether or not she could use Daisys name. To prove she could she repeat her name several times, Daisy! Daisy! Daisy! Ill say it whenever I want to! Dai This time Tom did not interrupt with words, but rather the back of his hand. He broke her nose and had no remorse for his action. In chapters one and two Tom is the character most focused on. His character is developed through his violent actions and dialogue, as well as the narrators descriptions. A character of cruelty and dominance.

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