Tom Buchanan In The Great Gatsby

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Section 1) – what impression do we get of Tom Buchanan in the opening Chapter? With a “hulking” presence and an undeniable masculinity, Tom Buchanan is the obvious foil to the romanticism of Jay Gatsby; his coarse presence, “cruel body” and irresponsible behaviour reflects not only a personal moral lacking but the sense of apathy that for Fitzgerald characterised the directionless and immoral “jazz age’ of the Roaring ‘20’s. While Nick focuses on the “gorgeous rags” and “winning smile” of Gatsby, it is the physical force of Tom that is impressed upon him, leading Nick to comment on the “packs of muscle” and “enormous power”; yet this…show more content…
While there is clear mediation and criticism of the heady days of the ‘jazz age’, the novel goes beyond its immediate historical context; bemoaning not only the indifference of the lost generation, but exploring the danger of desire, lamenting the result of “living too long with a single dream”, and deconstructing the contradictory nature of the American Dream. And combined with vividly drawn foible characters and an irresistible lyrical style, surely this is a book which cannot help but resonate with modern…show more content…
With affairs scattered throughout, Nick shirking any responsibility to “a girl back west” and the recklessness of “bad drivers”, it is a musing on the apparent disintegration of any moral fibre within society. With many American’s feeling alienated and apathy after the horror of WW1, Fitzgerald’s work certainly captures the reactive spirit of recklessness and frivolity as many felt that they “had been everywhere and done everything”. The lavish parties of Gatsby, which encapsulate so effectively the “caterwauling” and velocity of such fast living, suggest the seductive nature of money, but ultimately the “empty house” and the absence at the final funeral highlights the vacuous nature of such
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