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In chapter seven of "The Great Gatsby", what is significant about Tom's...

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merebear | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 13, 2008 at 4:00 AM via web

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In chapter seven of "The Great Gatsby", what is significant about Tom's inaccuracy about the sun?

I'm having particular trouble with this question in English class. Could anyone help please??

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 13, 2008 at 7:57 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that the following quote from Tom refers to his view on his life.  He knows that his wife is in love with Gatsby. Tom who once felt like the center of the universe is losing both his wife and his mistress.

Fitzgerald also uses the heat of the summer to symbolize the passion of these characters.  It is the hottest day of the year when Gatsby and Tom have their grand confrontation about Daisy. 

“I read somewhere that the sun’s getting hotter every year,” said Tom genially. “It seems that pretty soon the earth’s going to fall into the sun—or wait a minute—it’s just the opposite—the sun’s getting colder every year." (Fitzgerald)

It could also be a reference to the loss of heat or passion for his lifestyle.  Every year, the booze infused partying gets more and more boring.  

In Chapter 7, the heat has heightened Tom's confusion.  He feels like his life is spinning out of control.  He is no longer the center of attention in Daisy's world, he has witnessed his wife display her love for Gatsby.  

"There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind, and as we drove away Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control."

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