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What is the physical description of Tom in The Great Gatsby?  

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wakqii | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 17, 2010 at 12:05 PM via web

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What is the physical description of Tom in The Great Gatsby?


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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 17, 2010 at 12:09 PM (Answer #1)

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You can find a lot of the physical description of Tom Buchanan in Chapter 1.

We know that Tom is a big, athletic man.  He used to be a big football star in college.  We know that he has blonde hair the color of straw.

We know that he is now thirty years old.

Other than that, we are told that he has a hard mouth and arrogant eyes.  He is said to be always leaning forward aggressively, making up for the effeminate clothes he's wearing at the time.

He is very muscular with a "cruel" body.


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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 17, 2010 at 12:16 PM (Answer #2)

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Nick spends three paragraphs in the 1st chapter describing the fact that he believes Tom never recovered from being a collegiate football player hoping for more. That in itself tells us something about Tom.

Then, he tears into Tom's physical description,

Tom Buchanan in riding clothes was standing with his legs apart on the front porch.

This is a gesture of power. Next,

Now he was a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of leaning aggressively forward... you could see a great pack of muscle when his shoulder moved under his thin coat.

I think it's safe to say the picture painted of Tom is a man of strength and power.

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