Blue Blooded Reality In The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1807 words - 8 pages

Often times there are two natures that reside within a character that both conflict and complement each other. A Yin and a Yang in a personality is clearly expressed in the character of Tom Buchanan in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby. In one respect, Tom exemplifies brute and sheer domination through willpower and strength. However, due to his class and social standing he exhibits his overwhelming presence with finesse that is not entirely his own but instead placed upon him through his wealth. This conflict is clearly illustrated through the motif of the color blue throughout the novel as Tom’s inner personality of anger becomes more evident while his aristocratic, cold outer ...view middle of the document...

This body illustrates how dominant he is and how the blue, hot flame of anger prowling just beneath the affluent outer shell could drastically sway any argument. The word leverage conveys how he can persuade and turn the tide of any disagreement through sheer and raw power. His voice having a “touch of paternal contempt in it”, further conveys his superiority due to his blue blood (7). The wealthy, especially in the society of the 1920’s, felt as if they were above everyone else especially the poor. The word paternal further evokes a fatherly disgust or disappointment, which is a learned trait due to his regal ties and exemplifies the hierarchy of society. This is further explored when Tom is described as being in a “senior society” (7). This illustrates Tom as being in a blue blood, aristocratic society. He comes from a family with a history of wealth and thus this history betters his image in society. Tom is a very powerful man and does not have much to worry about because of his social standing and appearance but that all starts to change as his character is further explored and developed.
As the novel progresses, Tom’s hot, blue flame of anger slowly reveals itself through his actions and seeps through the flawless appearance of a regal and perfect decorum. When journeying through the area commonly referred to as the “ash heap” , Tom stops at a gas station; while examining the poverty stricken land he remarks at how awful it is and “[exchanges] a frown with Doctor Eckleburg” (26). The Doctor is a symbol for the ever-present and all seeing God. This moment illustrates how Tom dislikes the idea of the power of an entity over him and Tom’s blue blooded nature abhors the fact that God sits and judges the world. Tom would rather be the one exerting his power over everyone else and the notion that someone is above him is viciously unsettling. When he meets with Myrtle, the lady whom he is having an affair with, in an apartment with a few of his friends, he gets into an argument with Myrtle and “[breaks] her nose with his open hand” (37). The blue flame of Tom’s anger is at its peak whenever his authority is challenged and this often results in him exerting his force upon others, causing catastrophic damage. This is a far cry from regal blue blood and sophisticated power and tact and illustrates how Tom is not how he appears. Contained within Tom is a festering anger that burns bright blue. His anger burns blue due to the fact that Tom’s anger is more intense than an ordinary persons “flame” or anger. He is angry at Myrtle because she is shouting “Daisy! Daisy!”, the name of Tom’s wife, and says that she can “say it whenever [she] [wants] to” (37). Tom dislikes that his authority is challenged and that Myrtle is not under his control. The resulting action breaks her nose because Tom reveals that just beneath his regal exterior there is an unquenchable blue flame of anger that is his true self and not just an appearance. This lashing out...

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