In The Great Gatsby, why is Tom's statement, 'I've got a nice place here,' ironic? 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Tom does have a nice place. It is in East Egg, the upper class section.

Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans. 

Nick notes that Tom's and Daisy's house is nicer than he had thought, "a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay." Superficially speaking, the area and their home are both very nice. 

Tom does not intend to be ironic here. He is bragging. But, the statement is ironic because the pleasant scene masks an unhappy, troubled marriage. Tom is a racist, arrogant, brute who cheats on his wife. Daisy is depressed and although she may feel trapped in her marriage to Tom, she depends on him. Needless to say, she cheats on Tom as well. This is hardly the perfect All-American couple. However, this financially established good looking couple is one example of an American Dream, something that Gatsby himself is chasing. It is ironic that Tom's "nice place" (his home, his marriage, his situation in life) is only nice on the surface. 


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