Tom Wilson's Death in The Great Gatsby

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 607 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Words: 607|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Tom Wilson's death in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby" is a critical event that sheds light on the themes of social class, wealth, and morality in the Jazz Age. In today's world, the exploration of these themes remains relevant as society continues to grapple with issues of inequality, materialism, and the pursuit of the American Dream. This essay will examine the significance of Tom Wilson's death in the context of social class dynamics and moral decay in the novel, highlighting its implications for understanding the characters and the society they inhabit.

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Tom Wilson's death serves as a poignant moment in "The Great Gatsby," symbolizing the consequences of wealth and social status. As a lower-class character, Tom is marginalized and overlooked by the wealthy elite, represented by characters like Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. His death, caused by a hit-and-run accident, reflects the callous disregard for the lives of those on the fringes of society, highlighting the moral decay and lack of empathy prevalent among the upper class. According to literary critic Harold Bloom, Tom Wilson's death underscores the harsh realities of social hierarchy and the devastating impact of class divisions in the novel.

In examining the implications of Tom Wilson's death, it is essential to consider the broader themes of social class and inequality in the novel. According to scholar Matthew J. Bruccoli, Fitzgerald uses Tom Wilson's character to critique the social hierarchy of the time, exposing the harsh realities of the American Dream and the illusion of upward mobility. Tom's death serves as a stark reminder of the barriers that exist between different social classes, emphasizing the fragility of social mobility and the entrenched power structures that perpetuate inequality. This is further supported by literary critic James West, who argues that Tom Wilson's death highlights the destructive consequences of social stratification and the moral bankruptcy of the wealthy elite in the novel.

Moreover, Tom Wilson's death raises questions about morality and ethical responsibility in a society driven by materialism and greed. As characters like Gatsby and Daisy prioritize wealth and status over human connections, Tom's death serves as a wake-up call, forcing them to confront the consequences of their actions. By examining Tom Wilson's death through the lens of moral decay, we gain insight into the corrupting influence of money and power, highlighting the destructive impact of unchecked ambition and moral relativism. Literary critic Linda Wagner-Martin asserts that Tom Wilson's death serves as a cautionary tale, warning against the dangers of moral decay and the pursuit of material wealth at the expense of human values.

Counterarguments may suggest that Tom Wilson's death is merely a plot device used to advance the narrative and add dramatic tension to the story. However, a closer analysis reveals that his death serves a deeper purpose, shedding light on the social and moral complexities of the Jazz Age society depicted in the novel. By exploring the implications of Tom Wilson's death, we gain a deeper understanding of the characters and the world they inhabit, enriching our interpretation of the novel as a whole.

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In conclusion, Tom Wilson's death in "The Great Gatsby" offers a compelling exploration of social class dynamics, wealth, and morality in the Jazz Age. By examining the significance of his death, we uncover valuable insights into the characters and themes of the novel, providing a nuanced understanding of the societal issues it addresses. Moving forward, further research into the implications of Tom Wilson's death could offer new perspectives on the novel and its relevance to contemporary society. As we continue to grapple with issues of inequality and moral decay, the lessons gleaned from Tom Wilson's death remain as pertinent as ever.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Tom Wilson’s Death In The Great Gatsby. (2024, March 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Tom Wilson’s Death In The Great Gatsby.” GradesFixer, 05 Mar. 2024,
Tom Wilson’s Death In The Great Gatsby. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Tom Wilson’s Death In The Great Gatsby [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 05 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from:
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