How does Tom Buchanan demonstrate he is a bad husband in The Great Gatsby?

Quick answer:

Tom is not a good husband for several reasons. Tom treats Myrtle in a very bad way, with no respect and always trying to hurt her. He looks at Daisy as an object to be kept which makes him a bad husband. Tom is not good at all with the people around him and this just shows that he isn't good as a husband.

Expert Answers

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

I think that Tom is shown to be a bad husband as a bad person in a variety of ways.  Tom's physical force or strength is the primary means of communication.  It is this brute sense of character that makes him such a bad husband in that he believes that rules and norms of ethical conduct do not apply to him.  It is for this reason that he is able to step outside of his marriage with so much of a brazen mentality.  The fact that he mistreats his wife is seen in how he treats people in general.  George Wilson gets no respect from Tom and Myrtle is nothing more than a "keep" for Tom.  The manner in which he savagely beats her in front of others is reflective of how disrespectful he is to women.  Even when he is with Daisy, he does not do much to care for her.  He looks at her as no more than a trapping of his wealth, an object that must be kept for his own sense of possession.  In this, he is a terrible husband.  Fitzgerald makes it very clear that Tom's poor character is what ends up making him both a lousy husband and an as bad human being.

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