Self Interest In The Great Gatsby

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In the novel, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, both Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan’s actions are completely driven by their mental state of self-interest. According to modern cognitive psychology, each living person has a different mental state that properly explains his or her thoughts, feelings, and actions. Although both Gatsby and Tom are immensely determined to satisfy only their own needs, they go through very different means of doing so. In the novel, Gatsby’s self-driven actions usually lead him to behaving positivity to himself and to those around him, Tom’s self-interested actions are the cause of his vulgar social attitude in which Gatsby does not share. Whether it is the way they treat their shared love, Daisy, they way they…show more content…
Shortly after the beginning of the novel, Tom introduces Nick to his mistress, Myrtle. Tom and Myrtle spend time together in town to keep their relationship a secret, but Tom also distorts the truth of why he cannot end his marriage with Daisy “”It’s really his wife that’s keeping them apart. She’s a Catholic, and they don’t believe in divorce.” Daisy was not a Catholic, and I was a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie” (Page 33, The Great Gatsby). This proves Tom’s dishonesty towards other’s about his own wife, Daisy. Furthermore, Tom is also dishonest directly to Daisy about his double life; Tom’s extramarital affair ultimately proves that he does not treat his spouse, Daisy, well. Tom does not respect his own wife as he constantly deceits her so he can be content “Tom is the sort of man who can exercise is potency only if he is with a certain kind of woman. Myrtle Wilson is such a woman; Tom’s chambermaid in Santa Barbara is another” (Page 79, Oral Aggression and Splitting, A.B. Paulson). Tom’s poor behavior and disloyalty towards Daisy is merely to satisfy his own needs and he does not care to consider the feelings of those around him. Though he is unfair to Daisy, he still demands for her to live up to the moral standards that he conclusively lacks “Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisy’s running around alone, for on the following Saturday night he came…show more content…
Tom is a racist, sexist, and an overall cruel character that is under the belief that his scholarly and wealthy reputation should prove him to be superior over others- ultimately a key example of Tom’s mental-state of self-interest. Tom does not care about the way he acts, as he ultimately knows that he is apart of the “old wealth” community. Unlike Gatsby, Tom came from multiple generations of wealth, so he has not experienced honest work throughout this life. This lack of understanding hard work leads to his absolute arrogance. Tom’s arrogance is ultimately ignorant as he often talks about the idea of racial
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