Before meeting him, what does Nick tell us about Tom Buchanan?  

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first chapter of The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), Nick is about to see Tom Buchanan for the first time since they were in college together. He describes his recollection of him from those years. Tom was a "powerful" (10) football player in college, with a national reputation as such. And Nick comments that in a way, Tom had peaked at just this one thing during those years and had done nothing worthwhile ever since. We also learn that Tom is from a family that is "enormously wealthy" (10), so wealthy that Tom was able to bring his polo ponies with him to the east. He and his wife Daisy, who is a distant cousin to Nick, have "drifted here and there" (10), where the polo games were, and had spent some time in France, too. Tom Buchanan, in other words, has two attributes that stand out in Nick's memory, physical power and wealth. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Nick remembers him with any warmth or affection.

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The Great Gatsby

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