How Does Nick Describe Tom Buchanan In Chapter 1?

Updated 30 September, 2023
In the first chapter of The Great Gatsby, Nick describes Tom Buchanan as appearing arrogant, supercillious, aggressive, strong, and capable of cruelty. Tom is a rich man and Nick’s attitude to him is quite biased.
Detailed answer:

Tom Buchanan is the most unpleasant character in the novel. Enjoying his social status, connected to power, he is unfaithful to any code of ethics. Tom’s fears for the decline of civilization can be found rather funny since he is arrogance and complete lack of moral concern are the measures of the decline itself. He is unable to explain his conservative position, for he is afraid of both the power of the rich, such as Gatsby and of the political transformation which may emerge from the proliferation of new races in society. Above all, he is represented as a delinquent protected by social stature which conceals his misdeeds, who try to camouflage his misbehavior by appealing to a moral order.
As Nick first approaches Tom, he describes him as having a voice with 'a touch of paternal contempt' and emitting a tough attitude: “Now, don’t think my opinion on these matters if final,... just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are”. Whenever the chance presents itself, Tom utilizes every moment to show how much better he is than everyone else. The more money men have, the more powerful they tend to be as well. While it is considered polite to show the house to new visitors, Tom considers this an opportunity to boast and says, “I’ve got a nice place here”. Rather than making Nick feel like a welcomed guest, he proceeds to show off his biggest sign of money and success in a conceded way.
It is Nick who is constantly aware of Buchanan’s habits and features that serve the status. In chapter 1, when Nick sees Tom for the first time, he appears “in riding clothes… standing with legs apart on the front porch.” Both his clothing and relaxed pose suggest a way of life which has nothing to do with the actual production of wealth via means of fecund labor.

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