Interpreting the Character of Tom in The Great Gatsby 解读《了不起的盖茨比》中的人物汤姆毕业论文
The Great Gatsby is Fitzgerald’s classic work, which establishes his status in the history of modern American literature. Tom Buchanan is the representative of the depraved upper class. He is arrogant, extravagant, selfish and indifferent. He is the real killer of Gatsby. Although there are numerous domestic and foreign research on The Great Gatsby, the subjects are mainly image analysis of Gatsby, feminism, the disillusionment of the American dream, writing skills and means of artistic expression, while the character of Tom lacks systematic study. Based on the previous research, this paper takes Tom as the object of study and tries to make a comprehensive and detailed study of his image and symbolic significance. This paper includes five parts. The introduction part briefly introduces The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald and Tom Buchanan, and the current findings of the subject. The first part makes a detailed analysis of Tom Buchanan’s social status, personality and spiritual world through his words and behaviors and his attitude to others. The second part compares Tom and Gatsby’ s social status, the pursuit for wealth and vanity and the pursuit for love. The third part discusses the moneyism and hedonism reflected in the novel, and the material wealth and spiritual emptiness of the upper class and the disillusionment of the American dream under the influence of it. The conclusion part summarizes the image of Tom, the profound meaning the character contains and the social problems he reflects, and at the same time puts forward the shortcomings in the research and the problems to be solved.
Key Words: The Great Gatsby; Tom Buchanan; the disillusionment of American dream; moneyism; hedonism
1 Introduction 1
1.1 F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby 1
1.2 Literature Review 1
1.3 Tom Buchanan 3
2 The Image of Tom Buchanan 4
2.1 An arrogant old money 4
2.2 A stubborn racist 5
2.3 A profligate dandy 6
2.4 An indifferent murderer 7
3 Jay Gatsby V.S. Tom Buchanan 10
3.1 Social status 10
3.2 Pursuit for wealth and vanity 11
3.3 Attitude towards love 11
4 Social Significance Reflected 13
4.1 The prevalence of moneyism and hedonism 13
4.2 The disillusionment of American Dream 13
5 Conclusion 16
Interpreting the Character of Tom in The Great Gatsby
- F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was a famous American novelist in the 1920s. His works truly reflect the social life of the United States from World War I to the depression period, the so-called “jazz era” and “sturdy 1920s”, which profoundly reveal the disillusionment of the American spirit and American Dream under the influence of moneyism and hedonism. His works show the crisis of natural ecology, social ecology and spiritual ecology behind the highly developed material civilization of the United States in the 1920s and established him as a giant in the history of American literature.
The Great Gatsby was first published in 1925. The novel takes the protagonist Gatsby’s passionate pursuit of love as the main line, tells a traditional romantic story about “love and money” and how the dream of “love and money” shattered and eventually became a tragedy. This novel is a remarkable symbol of the maturity of Fitzgerald’s creative thinking and artistic style. Since its publication, The Great Gatsby has received extensive attention from the literary critics for more than half a century. Its research has also been enduring and it has been dubbed the “Great American Novel”. At the end of the 20th century, The Great Gatsby ranked second in the “100 best English novels” selected by American academic authority.
- Literature Review
Different authors have different perspectives on the theme and social significance of The Great Gatsby. Zhou Linlin (2017) believes that the tragedy of The Great Gatsby is a life tragedy dominated by consumer culture. The crazy pursuit for wealth eroded the moral heart. The whole society where moneyism and hedonism prevailed was full of material desires and moral decay. Zheng Qing (2014) argues that the three men in The Great Gatsby cannot live in harmony with nature, with others, and with themselves. Their thoughts and actions revealed the hidden crisis of natural ecology, social ecology and spiritual ecology behind the highly developed material civilization of the United States in the 1920s. Lian Jianfeng (2017) contends that Tom Buchanan’s ethical consciousness of family, class, consumption and race reflect that the traditional ethical values still dominate the American mainstream culture.