How is isolation shown in The Great Gatsby in terms of Tom's character?  Please include quotations.

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom is very emotionally isolated, especially from his wife.  He has engaged in a pattern of unfaithfulness to her in their marriage, admitting, "'Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time.'"  Daisy calls him "'revolting,'" certainly conveying a sense of emotional distance between them.  Further, he doesn't realize that she's been having an affair with Gatsby; he doesn't even know that she was ever in love with anyone before him -- Daisy has clearly not been open with him about her past relationships.  Tom seems shocked to learn that there have been any emotional problems on Daisy's end of their relationship, a fact that seems unavoidably conspicuous to everyone else from chapter one.  

Even with his mistresses, Tom is emotionally isolated.  He cares so little for Myrtle that he strikes her in the face, breaking her nose when she insists on saying Daisy's name.  So, he is neither truly emotionally connected with his wife, on whom he cheats regularly, nor with his mistresses, with whom he chooses to estrange his wife from him emotionally.  He is, thus, in many ways, alone.

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The Great Gatsby

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