In Chapter Two of the Great Gatsby, why does Tom insult George Wilson? What is the significance of him bashing Wilson?

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wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The way Tom and George Wilson interact tells us a lot about these two characters.  Tom insulting George lets us know that he makes himself feel better by putting others down.  We see Tom behave this way towards his wife, his mistress, and many other people in his life.  He seems to make himself feel more important and self-confident by putting others down and insulting them.  It also lets us know that Tom truly believes he is better than everyone else.  He thinks because he was born to wealth and privilege that he is more deserving and can take whatever he wants.  George quietly takes Tom's insults without much complaint.  This tells us something about George's gentle, quiet demeanor.  Tom eventually uses George's quiet demeanor to get back at Gatsby.

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The Great Gatsby

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