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I suppose he'd had the name ready for a long time, even then. His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people – his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. (4.7)
James Gatz isn't just embarrassed of his parents like a normal teen; he seems to have fantasies of having different parents entirely. Like secretly being a prince—or belonging to a family that owns polo horses?
I saw them in Santa Barbara when they came back, and I thought I'd never seen a girl so mad about her husband. If he left the room for a minute she'd look around uneasily, and say: "Where's Tom gone?" and wear the most abstracted expression until she saw him coming in the door. She used to sit on the sand with his head in her lap by the hour, rubbing her fingers over his eyes and looking at him with unfathomable delight. It was touching to see them together – it made you laugh in a hushed, fascinated way. That was in August. A week after I left Santa Barbara Tom ran into a wagon on the Ventura road one night, and ripped a front wheel off his car. The girl who was with him got into the papers, too, because her arm was broken – she was one of the chambermaids in the Santa Barbara Hotel. (4.143)
Girls who go with Tom seem to get in trouble, whether it's Daisy's bruised fingers, this girl's broken arm, or Myrtle's mutilated chest. Yeah, we'll be avoiding this guy.