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

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Before Nick Carraway visits his second cousin, Daisy Buchanan, who lives in the prestigious East Egg, he gives the reader insight into her husband. Nick initially mentions that he knew Tom Buchanan from college and proceeds to describe Tom as a talented former athlete. However, Nick also comments that Tom peaked in college and everything after his illustrious college football career "savors of anti-climax." Nick goes on to mention that Tom hails from an extremely wealthy family, and even in college Tom's money "was a matter for reproach." Nick also mentions that Tom and Daisy spent some time in France before moving to Chicago and finally settling in the East Coast. However, Nick does not believe that they will stay there permanently, because he feels Tom is "forever seeking" and misses the "dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game." Overall, the reader gets the impression that Tom is an arrogant jock, who is egotistical and flaunts his wealth.

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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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