The Hypocrisy of Tom in the Great Gatsby

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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The Hypocrisy of Tom in the Great Gatsby

This essay will delve into the character of Tom Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby,” examining his hypocrisy and its implications for the narrative. It will explore Tom’s moral duplicity, entitlement, and the contrast between his outward appearance of success and inner moral bankruptcy. The essay will analyze how Fitzgerald uses Tom’s character to critique the upper class and the moral decay hidden beneath the glamour of the Roaring Twenties. PapersOwl showcases more free essays that are examples of American Dream.

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The original American Dream strives in the darkness covered by money, alcohol, parties, singing and women. The setting takes place during the “Jazz Age”, the 1920’s, where money instantly correlated with success due to the impulsive american people who have corrupted the dream that past settlers had once dreamt of. Nick Carraway opens up the story that he came to the West Egg to make a fortune as a bond salesman and entangles himself in many trifling situations that involves his infamous neighbour, Jay Gatsby, who himself twists the original definition of American Dream and soughts out a girl with the gain of his ‘attractive’ wealth.

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The creator utilizes allegory to outline the subject that the American dream never again exists and even so that the general thought is immediately contorted into wealth being achievement. In order to not manifest but to push upon the morals to the readers, Fitzgerald uses Gatsby, the green light and Tom in order to communicate that the American dream is corrupted and dead.

Gatsby represents the everyday American people who strive for success. The American Dream is believed to be defined as an American who comes from the poor and works their way up to money and with that come happiness but that isn’t the case at all. Daisy, who Gatsby

sought his own wealth for, came to Nick’s house to have tea but it was just a setup for Gatsby to show off his house and “success” to her. When leaving the music room, Nick saw “ that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to [Gatsby] him as the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams-…..He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way,” (Fitzgerald 96). Gatsby was disappointed by the star-struck moment of finalizing that his dream was right there in front of his eyes. After picturing and recreating many moments of how that special day would be like, nothing but false contentment flushed Gatsby and he was almost to the realization that riches did not make him happy, and doesn’t give him as much satisfaction as people commonly thought. Gatsby only gained wealth ,from criminal and illegal activities, to impress Daisy, his dream girl, his fantasy, and win her back to the acknowledgement that he knew she married Tom due to his social elite title. Gatsby believed that if he had money, he could get back the girl who came from the rich but his reality became an illusion that interpreted that the frivolous definition of the American Dream was made to correlate money to success and happiness which was not the main reason that historical settlers sought out America. This makes Gatsby a paragon of American people using money for happiness. From the quote, the author uses disappointing diction to represent the emotion that Gatsby, for a glimpse second, is almost seeing the aftermath of giving too much high expectation and the realizes that “..Daisy tumbled short of his dreams-,”(Fitzgerald 96). Once Gatsby accomplishes the ‘fantasy,’ he finds that it isn’t what it has all the earmarks of being but he still goes for the green when eventually he ends up dead at the end. From being informed of Gatsby’s purpose in life and that it goes against the whole purpose of hard work and prosperity, readers are justified that money is man’s own power weapon to total downfall. Mens virtuous corruption of the American Dream is blinded by money and flawed love and it makes the reader question what is actually the meaning of the American dream. This proves that the American Dream is dead by people who slowly twisted the American Dreams true purpose until there was a simple way out and that way was money.

The green light is meant to represent the hopes and dreams of the American people like Gatsby. “ ..-he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and as far as i was from him, i could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily i glanced seaward-and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock,” (FItzgerald 21) Nick finds Gatsby staring upon the sea towards a dock, Daisy’s dock, and he’s stretching his arms out as if he wanted the green light to be attainable and already achieved. In this case, the green light represents the hopes and dreams of getting back Daisy, but generally, the light actually represents the hope and dreams of the american people. The green light is something that everybody needs to accomplish yet it’s unattainability makes the light more farther away. It drives reality to a make-believe dream and can cause excessively of a radical picture in America. The writer uses an illustration and metaphor of the green light to the American dream to make the reader feel like it’s the green lights blame for prodding the american individuals into endeavoring to get the accomplishment of being rich when its not as imperative but rather to be happy and that money does not create that feeling. The green light is a prominent archetype of exaggerating the American Dream to make it more difficult to actually attain and it threatens and harms the dream as a whole making the American dream more fantasy than reality.

Tom represents the manipulated and hollowed version of the American Dream that is sculptured around the deceiving idea of a ‘perfect family’ and the ‘perfect’ life. As constantly repeated, the perfect life is seen as having a beautiful wife, a perfect poster child, tons of wealth and a part in the high social class but is that what a perfect life actually is? Tom was born into wealth and didn’t have to sacrifice, suffer or deal with the costs of what an average citizen ,who did not have as much income as him, has to go through to make a living. He didn’t build his wealth, he only built upon his family’s wealth and that’s the other type of American Dream everyone desires in their life. Tom, the twisted interpretation of the American Dream, teases George, who also represents the American people getting by, with the ‘maybe’ of selling his car to him. “..I’ve got my man working on it now….And if you feel that way about it, maybe i’d better sell it somewhere else after all,” (Fitzgerald 25). Tom, the corrupted dream, prods George about selling his[Tom] vehicle and ridicules him as though George was an unfeasible puppet. Glancing through a general point of view of the portrayals of Tom and George, the turned American dream prods the american individuals into trusting that success will come their direction in the event that they hold up to principles such as accomplishment in riches and titles. The author uses mockery diction in order to make the reader feel as though there are people in this world who use their power to guide a path for people who dream to be like them. Tom symbolizing the cruel and illusional dream, creates a sense that money does equal power over people and that the bank is worth more than the feeling of happiness but this just builds upon the corruption of the dead American dream. This provides a very gruesome exploration into the thoughts of citizens and how dollar signs are only looked upon with delight but not fear and it causes troublesome situations amongst the emptiness that follows after somebody reaches the newly defined ‘American Dream’.

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The Hypocrisy of Tom in the Great Gatsby. (2022, Apr 05). Retrieved from