Tom Buchanan

Racist, Businessman, and Brute

Tom's Dream

Tom's dream was to feel superior over others. He does this by having extramarital affairs, asserting his physical dominance, and exploiting his social status to prove to others he is better.

When Nick first meets Tom he gives a brief background of him and his wife and how they live. " They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together." (Fitzgerald 6). By stating this, this shows Tom's blatant disregard for caring about how he spends his money. He was always rich and Tom has always lived ridiculously, probably in order to impress others so he feels better about himself. Another way uses his attributes to make him feel superior is by physical prowess. "You did it, Tom... I know you didn't mean to but you did do it. That's what I get for marrying a brute of a man, a great, big, hulking physical specimen of a-" (Fitzgerald 12). This text shows that even his wife knows he isn't afraid to use physical in order to get what he wants. He also believes his race is dominant over others. " It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things." (Fitzgerald 13). Tom even believes that since he's white he is superior.

Tom's Symbol

Since Tom takes random trips and plays polo all the time, it is safe to say that an object like a race car would represent him and his disregard for saving money. For example, he takes year long trips that cost copious amounts." They spent a year in France for no particular reason." (Fitzgerald 6). This shows that Tom has no care for how he spends as long as he impress' others. He also drives a "Blue car, a coupe." (Fitzgerald 136) which was no different than anyone else's car. The only reason he paid to have it painted was to impress others. It is much like himself, flashy on the outside, but actually the same as others. But he would never admit that because he thinks he is better than everyone else. Also, when Nick meets Tom at the beginning of the book, "he'd brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest."(Fitzgerald 6). This shows Tom's shallow side, that under his things, there is a man with nothing.

Character Traits

Arrogant- Tom is very arrogant and it is shown by this, " Now don't think my opinion on these matters is final... Just because I'm stronger and more of a man than you are." (Fitzgerald 7). Tom literally says he is better than people just because he is stronger, this is bad. One could also see his arrogance, " Two shining arrogant eyes established dominance over his face." (Fitzgerald 7).
He is also Racist.- " It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things." (Fitzgerald 13)."

The color of Tom

The color of green represents Tom. The color green also represents money, shallowness, and insecurity. One example of this is the fact that he his having an affair. "Tom's got some woman in New York." (Fitzgerald 15). This is a shallow move by Tom. It also represents his money and how much of it he has. "...even in college his freedom with money was a matter of reproach."(Fitzgerald 6). It also shows his insecurities "Tom would drift forever on seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game." (Fitzgerald 6).

Destruction of Tom's Dream

Tom's stupid actions cost him a lot of things that were important to him, including almost losing his wife. "Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping from his control." (Fitzgerald 125). This shows Tom's uneasiness about losing both his wife and Myrtle, he knows it will upset him. Tom's dream also cost him money. "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money." (Fitzgerald 179). Tom's dream of being superior lead him to show off to people, he would buy nice cars and nice horses just to feel superior. Tom's dumb action's even ruined his reputation. " Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with an open hand." (Fitzgerald 37). This instantly ruins Tom's reputation. No one wants to be the guy who hits the girl. It also puts him in a lower social class.


Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Srcibner, 1925. Print.