In the first chapter of the novel, Nick visits his cousin, Daisy, and her husband, Tom Buchanan, who live in the East Egg and reside in an exquisite Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay. Nick mentions that he went to college with Tom Buchanan at Yale and remembers him as a domineering, arrogant athlete who believed that he was superior to his peers. When Nick sees Tom again, he describes him as a sturdy, well-built thirty-year-old man with a hard-looking face. Nick continues to describe Tom by saying,
Two shining, arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. (9)
Tom's appearance reflects his intimidating, aggressive personality. Throughout the novel, Tom Buchanan is portrayed as an extremely proud, ignorant, selfish, and cruel man. Nick finds Tom difficult to be around and feels uncomfortable in his presence.
During Nick's first dinner at the Buchanan household, he is introduced to Jordan Baker, who informs him that Tom cheats on Daisy. Tom also displays his racism at dinner by commenting on a prejudiced book he is currently reading and subscribing to the belief that he is a member of a dominant race. As the story progresses, Tom becomes the antagonist and is determined to expose Gatsby as a bootlegger while he carries on an affair with Myrtle. After Daisy accidentally kills Myrtle, Tom blames her death on Gatsby, and George proceeds to murder him.