Describe Tom Buchanan and his actions in chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby.

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Tom Buchanan does not appear and is not mentioned at all in chapter three of The Great Gatsby. He does, however, make an appearance in chapter two, when he takes his mistress, Myrtle to their downtown apartment, and in chapter four, when Jordan describes his marriage to Daisy.

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In chapter two, Tom is presented as a dominating alpha-male character, in stark contrast to Myrtle's husband, who is described as "a blonde, spiritless man, anaemic," who Myrtle walks "through . . . as if he were a ghost." Tom acts disdainfully and like a bully towards the husband of the woman he is having an affair with. Tom and Myrtle's husband, Wilson, are, in fact, foil characters for one another. Tom's imposing, strong, alpha-male character is emphasized in contrast to Wilson's unimpressive, weak, effeminate character.

Towards the end of chapter two, the event that possibly encapsulates his character more than any other in the story is when he strikes Myrtle for shouting Daisy's name: "Making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand." This event encapsulates the violent, brutish aspect of Tom's character, but also is quite revealing as regards his feelings for his wife, Daisy. He is having an affair behind Daisy's back but still feels that Myrtle has no right to mention her name. It's as if Myrtle sullies Daisy's name by mentioning it, and Tom's outburst is the only way he knows how to protect Daisy's name. Or, another interpretation might be that Tom feels guilty for cheating on Daisy and loses his temper once his mistress reminds him of that guilt by repeating Daisy's name.

In chapter four, Jordan tells Nick about the day before and the day of Daisy and Tom's wedding. The event of the wedding also reveals a lot about Tom's character. Jordan says that Tom "came down with a hundred people in four private cars and hired a whole floor of the Seelbach Hotel." This obviously points to Tom's considerable wealth but also possibly points to how happy and proud he was to marry Daisy. Tom also gives to Daisy, the day before the wedding, "a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars." This, of course, is a rather extravagant and grandiose gesture from Tom. It is meant as a boastful display of his own wealth but also, again, possibly points to the scale of his love for Daisy.

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Tom Buchanan doesn't appear in chapter 3, but in chapter 4, Nick Carraway runs into him in New York City. Nick has come to have lunch with Gatsby at a Forty-second Street cellar when he spots Tom in the distance. Tom speaks aggressively as he comes towards Nick. Nick hears his questions as demands, saying twice that Tom "demanded" rather than "asked" a question. Tom asks (or demands of) Nick why he hasn't been around to visit, saying Daisy has been furious, and then he asks Nick how he's been.

In the midst of all this, Nick introduces Gatsby to Tom. Tom is too preoccupied to notice, completely blind to the idea he might have a rival for Daisy. In contrast, Gatsby looks embarrassed, and when Nick turns around as Tom is demanding to know why Nick has come so far to have lunch, Gatsby has disappeared.

It's significant in this scene that the overbearing Tom is completely oblivious to the man who is a rival for his wife.

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