What bothers Tom most about Daisy's affair in chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Tom Buchanan applies a double standard. He thinks it is perfectly acceptable for him to have affairs, but he is incensed that his wife would do the same. Even more important to him is his notion of class superiority. He likes to pretend that class status confers moral superiority as well.

When Gatsby insists that Daisy is leaving him, Tom sneers at him. Because Tom comes from money, he disdains self-made men. Moreover, he claims to be outraged at the idea that Gatsby has made his money illegally, through selling alcohol.

Tom insists that Daisy will never leave him for "a common swindler." He further tells the others (Daisy, Jordan, and Nick) that Gatsby and Meyer Wolfsheim had been using drugstores as a front for selling grain alcohol. The illegal activities are not actually such a concern, however. Gatsby reveals that one of Tom's friends had invested in their business, and Tom is upset because the friend, Walter Chase, had gone to jail over his role in the illegal activities.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The most infuriating aspect of the revelation of Daisy's affair with Gatsby, to Tom's way of thinking, was the realization that Daisy knew Gatsby long before she became acquainted with him. Tom can't understand how they became aware of each other, can't accept that there might ever have been any feelings between the two of them, and becomes livid when Gatsby suggests that Daisy always loved him, even when she was going through the motions of marrying Tom. He refuses to accept any possibility that this story might have any truth to it and is determined to force everyone present to understand the truth of his love for Daisy and hers for him alone.

I can't speak about what happened five years ago because I didn't know Daisy then...But all the rest of that's a God damned lie. Daisy loved me when she married me and she loves me now.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial