When Tom hit Myrtle in chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby, what does this reveal about Tom?
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Tom is showing his desire to keep the two parts of his life completely separate. He had Daisy, his beautiful, socially acceptable trophy wife, for those occasions when he needed an attractive woman as a companion. He also had Myrtle, whose lust for life fed his ego and whose sexual attraction to him, and he to her, was undeniable.
Tom is also demonstrating his expectation that he should always be able to make the rules and that they should be obeyed without question. Tom is accustomed to having his own way; when Myrtle doesn't immediately give in and agree to abide by his viewpoint, Tom's volatile temper erupts.
Tom Buchanan and Mrs. Wilson stood face to face, discussing in impassioned voices whether Mrs. Wilson had any right to mention Daisy's name. "Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!" shouted Mrs. Wilson. "I'll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai-" Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.
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