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Nick did not know Tom Buchanan particularly well at Yale, but in Chapter 1 of The Great Gatsby, he is plunged into the midst of his domestic affairs when they become neighbors in West and East Egg. At the beginning of Chapter 2 , Tom announces peremptorily that he...

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Nick did not know Tom Buchanan particularly well at Yale, but in Chapter 1 of The Great Gatsby, he is plunged into the midst of his domestic affairs when they become neighbors in West and East Egg. At the beginning of Chapter 2, Tom announces peremptorily that he is going to introduce Nick to his mistress, Myrtle Wilson:

"We're getting off!" he insisted. "I want you to meet my girl."

I think he'd tanked up a good deal at luncheon and his determination to have my company bordered on violence.

This violence, always implicit in Tom's character, is unleashed at the end of chapter 2, when Nick learns that Tom's relationship with Myrtle is, if anything, unhappier and more abusive than his relationship with Daisy. They have been getting drunk together, along with Myrtle's sister, Catherine, and the residents of a neighboring apartment. Nick has already learned that Tom is dishonest with his mistress as well as with his wife. He has told Myrtle, for instance, that he cannot obtain a divorce because Daisy is a Catholic. The afternoon drags on and increasingly becomes a blur for Nick as they drink more whiskey. Then, around midnight, he witnesses a bitter argument between Tom and Myrtle:

"Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!" shouted Mrs. Wilson. "I'll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai—"

Making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.

This sudden violence expresses Tom's contempt for Myrtle but also more broadly his arrogant, violent attitude to the world around him, which he always seeks to dominate and subdue. Nick has always known this about Tom, but his sudden, violent assault against a woman demonstrates Tom's vicious nature more clearly than anything that precedes it.

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Nick learns much about Tom in Chapter 2, and we have to keep in mind that most of it Daisy doesn't know.

Daisy knows Tom is having an affair but not who his lover is. Nick, however, meets Tom's lover, Myrtle Wilson, when they stop at the Wilson's garage in the Valley of the Ashes, where Tom arranges a rendez-vous in New York City.

Nick gets to witness Myrtle interacting with Tom in the small apartment he rents as a meeting place for them in the city. He sees that it is overstuffed with furniture and that Myrtle likes to act the part of the great lady in this small place. He meets Myrtle's sister Catherine. He also learns that Tom and Myrtle met on the train going to the city.

Nick witnesses how cruel Tom is to Myrtle. He makes funs of her lack of social connections, and when she says the name "Daisy" repeatedly to taunt him, he hits her, causing a nosebleed.

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This Chapter features lots of information about Tom and his character as he forces Nick to accompany him to the house of his lover, Myrtle, taunts her husband then takes Myrtle and Nick with him to his appartment that he uses for affairs and has an unplanned party with Myrtle's sister and a couple called the McKees. They drink a lot, and although Nick is disgusted by their exaggerated behaviour, he is compelled by the novelty of observing these shallow people. When Tom gives Myrtle a puppy, she begins to talk about Daisy. Tom tells her to keep quiet, and Myrtle refuses, chanting Daisy's name. Tom then breaks her nose in an act of violence, bringing the party to a sudden halt.

This party scene clearly establishes the hypocrisy of Tom and also his inability to control his emotions, especially his anger. He has no guilt about his affair with Myrtle, but feels he must keep Myrtle in her place and control her. His violent act against Myrtle illustrates his character: he is a physical bully who uses and abuses his social position and physical strength to dominate and manipulate those around him. Note how he taunts Wilson whilst also cuckolding him. He has no guilt about his behaviour and without a doubt is quick to violently assert his authority over Myrtle. Wilson here acts as a foil to Tom - he is an attractive and moral man, but who doesn't possess the money, vitality or position that Tom has.  

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The most important thing Nick learns about Tom by the end of chapter 2 is that he is having an affair.

During the chapter, Nick and Tom travel to pick up Myrtle and they meet by catching the train from different locations to the city. As they travel and arrive, Nick notices how open they are about their relationship. If someone who knew either of them saw, it would be obvious. At the very least, they keep this relationship out of the view of their spouses.

By the absolute end of the chapter, Myrtle has turned from blue collar wife to high society prom dress gal. She has Tom buy her a dog and they all spend the evening together in an apartment Tom apparently keeps for the sake of this affair. At the end of the chapter, she taunts Tom by saying Daisy's name over and over. This obviously shows Tom's disgust with his own wife who happens to be Nick's cousin.

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