The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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What do you learn about Tom Buchanan from his dress, mannerisms, dialogue, house, and actions?

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The audience is first introduced to Tom Buchanan in chapter 1 of the novel, when Nick Carraway visits his second cousin Daisy. When Nick meets Tom, he is wearing riding clothes with a thin jacket that accentuates his muscular frame. Tom's outfit indicates that he is a wealthy man who owns horses, which are a valuable commodity of the elite. Tom is also described as having "arrogant eyes" and a "gruff husky" voice. He speaks to Nick in a supercilious manner and brags about his wealth by showing off his magnificent estate. Tom's demeanor and actions reveal that he is a pompous, arrogant man, materialistic and superficial.

Nick proceeds to enter Tom's beautiful home, where he interacts with Daisy and Jordan Baker. During their conversation, Tom remarks, "Civilization’s going to pieces." Tom proceeds to elaborate on a prejudiced book he's been reading titled The Rise of the Coloured Empires and tries in vain to expound upon its prejudiced thesis. Tom's taste in literature reveals that he is a racist man who believes that he is inherently superior because he is white. While Tom is attempting to appear educated, he ironically comes across as ignorant and pathetic. Tom is also rude to Nick and Daisy and even answers a phone call from his mistress in the middle of dinner. Overall, the audience's first impressions of Tom are negative. He is depicted as a prejudiced, arrogant man who is domineering, superficial, and ignorant. Aside from his inherited financial success, Tom Buchanan seems to possess no other redeeming qualities.

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