The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Why does Gatsby object to letting Tom drive his car?

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Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It is in chapter 7 that Gatsby objects to letting Tom drive his car. In fact, according to Nick, Gatsby finds the idea of Tom driving his car "distasteful."

Gatsby tells Tom that he cannot drive his car because it does not have a lot of gas. However, when Tom looks at the gauge, we see that this is a lie. Gatsby's car has plenty of gas in it.

The real reason that Gatsby will not let Tom drive his car is, quite simply, because he does not like him. Remember that Tom is the only person standing in the way of Gatsby and Daisy being together. Moreover, Tom is a bully. He does not treat Daisy well and is actually having a very public affair with Myrtle.

In the next few paragraphs, it becomes clear that Gatsby wants to drive Daisy in his own car. He not only wants to impress her, he wants to spend as much time with her as possible. This is another reason why Gatsby will not let Tom drive his car.

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Bridgett Sumner, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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What is happening in chapter seven when Tom insists on driving Gatsby's car to Manhattan from East Egg is a ratcheting up of the tension that has simmered between the two men all afternoon.  Tom recognizes that Daisy is interested in Gatsby, and because Tom is a competitor unaccustomed to losing, he aggressively tries to regain control of his wife by emasculating Gatsby in any way he can.  Gatsby, also a competitor, recognizes what Tom is trying to do and objects when Tom directs him to "take my coupe and let me drive your car to town." However, Gatsby understands that he needs to act like a gentleman in front of Daisy, so he merely suggests "shall we all go in my car?"  Gatsby is, after all, a guest at the Buchanan's home and cannot risk alienating Daisy at this point, even though he understands that Tom is commandeering his car to appear more powerful than Gatsby.


Fitzgerald, F. Scott.  The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.

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