• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Tom Buchannan reflects important attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s, give your response to the above view.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Tom Buchannan reflects important attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s, give your response to the above view. Tom Buchannan is certainly one of Fitzgerald?s most opinionated and distinct characters, and his social commentary reflects important attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s. These attitudes and values are mostly negative, and Fitzgerald uses Tom as a way to convey everything he dislikes about 1920s society. In examining this view, a good place to start is Tom?s blatant r****m. Tom?s views are clearly r****t, evidenced by his choice of reading: ?Have you read the Rise of the Coloured Empires by Goddard?? This refers to a genuine book that was around at that time, titled The Rising Tide Of Colour by Lothrop Stoddard. Tom feels threatened by the rising power of racial minorities and wishes to preserve the archaic status quo, which is reflective of the attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s. The influx of immigrants from Asia and Africa was seen as a threat to many established Americans, and led to measures such as National Origins Quota Act of 1924 which restricted immigration to 150,000 per annum. ...read more.

Middle

In real life, Fitzgerald experienced this with his own wife, Zelda, who he believed was having an extra-marital affair. Tom is also a hypocrite when it comes to marriage: ?Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions?? He is hardly one to talk about the sanctity of the family. Tom reflects that increasingly casual attitude towards love and s*x that was developing in the 1920s. In light of this, it perplexes me that anyone could claim that Tom Buchannan doesn?t reflect important attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s. Those that oppose my view claim that Tom?s values are archaic, and that they do not reflect the majority opinion of the 1920s. There may be some merit to this opinion, especially we consider that 1920s America was a liberal democracy where many minority groups were being given rights for the first time. This is reflected in The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald suggests that the boundaries of race can be broken down by the American Dream, despite the archaic views of men like Tom. When the characters are driving into New York they pass a car, ?driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish n*****s, two bucks and a girl.? A white man serving black people is a reversal of the r****m that had dominated society until this point. ...read more.

Conclusion

People like Tom were resented rather than admired, which is captured in Nick?s final remark about Tom: ?They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money.? In light of this, the case could be made that Gatsby is a better representative of attitudes and values in 1920s America instead of Tom, especially with regards to money and work. Gatsby has certainly worked hard to acquire all that he has. According to Thomas Wolfe, every man in America has the right to become, ?whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him." This certainly applies to Gatsby. He represents the American Dream of self-made wealth and happiness, the spirit of youth and resourcefulness, and the ability to defy his past and make something of himself. This directly contrasts to Tom?s attitudes of apathy, laziness and entitlement that alienate him from the attitudes and values of the 1920s. To conclude, after careful consideration we determine that, for the most part, Tom Buchannan reflects important attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s. The same could also be said of many of Fitzgerald?s characters, because many critics have taken The Great Gatsby to be an extended social commentary on the attitudes and values of the 1920s. The opposing arguments have some merit but ultimately they fail to realise the true implications and context of The Great Gatsby. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level F. Scott Fitzgerald section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Gatsby is more of an anti-hero than a hero. With reference to appropriately selected ...

    Gatsby?s tragic flaw, his hamartia, is his incessant desire to attain a dream that is unreachable. He has certain hubristic qualities that tragic heroes often have due to the pride he has in his wealth, to the point that he rejects his own family: ?His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful

  2. The real hero of The Great Gatsby is not Gatsby but the narrator Nick ...

    However, this isn?t who Nick is and doesn?t want to be about this way of living. He claims the Midwest because it?s wholesome, innocent, and pure, all things Nick wants to be associated with.

  1. The American Dream is what drives the characters in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

    Admittedly, this is a sad and often disheartening social commentary. But what makes The Great Gatsby so excellent, and the commentary that much more true, is that it is timeless. Over half a century has passed since Fitzgerald wrote this piece, and it applies to the present as much as it does to the past.

  2. Fitzgeralds portrayal of the female characters in The Great Gatsby reveals an underlying hatred ...

    Further support for this proposition can be found in how Fitzgerald describes the personalities of his female characters. A key example would be the women attending Gatsby?s parties: ?Lucille said, ?I never care what I do, so I always have a good time.?? Again, women are portrayed as shallow and epicurean.

  1. The Great Gatsby is more effective as a symbolic novel than as a realist ...

    This has led many to define The Great Gatsby as a realist novel rather than a symbolic one. There may be some merit to this opinion, especially when we consider how the events of the novel are closely related to Fitzgerald?s own life, especially the women in the novel.

  2. The Great Gatsby is too serious to be called a Satirical Novel. With reference ...

    Fitzgerald uses satire to offer social criticism by highlighting the many vices and follies of 1920s society. For example, he uses the iconic image of, ?the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg,? to mock the materialism of the 1920s. Towards the culmination of the novel George mistakes the advertisement for

  1. The Great Gatsby is more like a realist novel than a modernist novel. With ...

    While the movement usually applies to paintings, it can just as easily be applied to novels such as The Great Gatsby. The most obvious instance of social realism in the novel is the depiction of the Valley of Ashes. Fitzgerald deliberately places this after the extravagance of chapter one in order to have maximum impact on the reader.

  2. In The Great Gatsby Nick Carraway is not a reliable narrator. With reference to ...

    Throughout the novel, we see things only as Nick sees them, hear only as Nick hears, and we understand things only in the way Nick understands them. Making use of an imperfect and limited narrator helps Fitzgerald to express another foundational idea of Modernism - that reality and truth are relative and dependent upon perception.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work