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If Nick is not rich, why is he accepted in Daisy's inner circle

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Monica Shoshanna Is Nick just accepted by Daisy, Tom and Jordan because he is Daisy's cousin? Nick isn't totally poor, not on the same par as George Wilson, but he's not rich like Daisy and Tom. Would people who are middle class like Nick usually be accepted into the upper class? They reject Gatsby because he is new money, not old money like they are but they are more accepting of Nick.


Stephen Monica wrote: "If Nick is not rich, why is he accepted in Daisy's inner circle ..."

"Because he's young" would be the obvious answer. The young are often taken on as proteges by those that are established.

I know I've eaten many a fine meal and seen entertainments that were beyond my means simply because I was young and could, at times, be charming.


message 3: by Mochaspresso (last edited Nov 22, 2013 05:26PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mochaspresso He had connections. He was a veteran, an ivy leaguer and he had a respectable job as a broker/trader. He was also Daisy's cousin, therefore he came from a good family/acceptable lineage and upbringing (which was probably just as important in that world as how much money you had). I also think his family was a little bit higher in socio-economic standing than just "middle class". They may not have been uber-rich, but I think he came from a pretty prominent and well-to-do family in it's own right.


Michael Alan Grapin Nick is her cousin and they were close even before she married money.


message 5: by ch (new) - rated it 4 stars

ch Mochaspresso wrote: "He had connections. He was a veteran, an ivy leaguer and he had a respectable job as a broker/trader. He was also Daisy's cousin, therefore he came from a good family/acceptable lineage and upbringing (which was probably just as important in that world as how much money you had). I also think his family was a little bit higher in socio-economic standing than just "middle class"."

^ This

I think that Gatsby was mistaken that it's all about money, which was part of his undoing.


message 6: by Geoffrey (last edited Nov 23, 2013 03:54PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Or maybe he unconsciously knew that but deluded himself.I prefere the latter. Gatsby wasn`t intelligent, nor shrewd enough to go to be successful of his own making but needed to brown nose a wealthier person, first the person with the yacht, then later Wolfsheim. The relationship with the latter is the weakest part of the novel as I am convinced anyone who builds up a criminal organization and fixes the World Series is not going to be taken in by an imposter like Jay. One of several very poor conceptional thinking on SF`s part.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Monica wrote: "Is Nick just accepted by Daisy, Tom and Jordan because he is Daisy's cousin? Nick isn't totally poor, not on the same par as George Wilson, but he's not rich like Daisy and Tom. Would people who ar..."

Yes the only reason Nick is accepted into Daisy's group of the elite is because they are related, otherwise they would treat him the same as Wilson, regardless of the fact that he has slightly more money. The reason they didn't accept Gatsby for being new money, was because he became very rich, very quick and in those times you didn't get money like that unless it was inherited, or you were doing something illegal, such as bootlegging, in Gatsby's case it was the latter and Tom knew that, Tom also knew there was something between Daisy and Gatsby, but was too busy with his own indiscretions to pay closer attention.


Jenn Stephen wrote: "Monica wrote: "If Nick is not rich, why is he accepted in Daisy's inner circle ..."

"Because he's young" would be the obvious answer. The young are often taken on as proteges by those that are est..."


This is exactly correct. He is Daisy's cousin therefore has a good lineage and parental background. Whereas no one has heard of Gatsby before nor his family until he started having his parties.


Karen Geoffrey wrote: "Or maybe he unconsciously knew that but deluded himself.I prefere the latter. Gatsby wasn`t intelligent, nor shrewd enough to go to be successful of his own making but needed to brown nose a wealth..."
I don't see any reason why Wolfsheim wouldn't have that relationship with Gatsby. You just didn't like the book much.


Feliks Agreed. In criminal circles you can cruise a long time without anyone digging into your *exact* background. Its considered an affront. This is partly why thieves are always falling out; they keep tripping over each other's skeletons.


Amanda Schilkie I think Nicks parents come from money


Holly To find the answer to this question, read The Official Preppy Handbook......all will be explained.


Hollie3 Michael wrote: "Nick is her cousin and they were close even before she married money."

yes that is the correct answer!


Geoffrey Yes, Karen I don`t like the book much and the reasons I don`t are many, including the naively written relationship between Wolfsheim and Jay.


Anthony Watkins Did someone say Gatsby wasnt rich? He thought he had to have enough money to be allowed in the game? No! he was a self made millionaire who tried to fit in but the new money didnt sit well with the old families. He was smart enough to make a fortune, he was frustrated because he couldnt break the social code


Geoffrey Anthony, are you so sure he was actually the dude with the money? It is entirely posible he was only the front man for Wolfsheim and was his fence in West Egg. The rent could have been paid entirely by his boss. Considering that the servants were Wolfsheims as well, it is more probable that Jay was a CÖMPLETE fraud.

No Hollie, they were cousins but they weren`t close. That is clearly stated in the book.


Anthony Watkins Geoffrey, if you choose to try to outsmart the author, go ahead, i just take F Scott at his word.


Geoffrey No, Anthony, you must read the book again. It clearly states that Nick and Daisy are not close. Please read the beginning of the book and see for yourself.


Anthony Watkins No, i wasnt talking about that, i was talking about whether Gatsby was rich?


Anthony Watkins sans the question mark, talking to my 9 yr old about travel plans while typing. my apologies.


Geoffrey No problem with the question mark.
Where does SF say that Gatsby`s the one with the buckos?


Anthony Watkins Gimme a bit, last read it in 1974:)


Geoffrey I skimmed it twice in the last 3 years, so I could be wrong. But I think not.


message 24: by Gary (last edited Dec 08, 2013 01:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary I don't think Nick is in Daisy (or Tom's) circle. He's a social acquaintance and maybe he can call on them without too much formality, but he's not "in" with them. Tom doesn't let him in on business deals. They generally think he's beneath them. He's not a peer. He probably wouldn't be part of any really intimate or important conversations. He's not a "hangaround" or a sycophant, but he's not exactly in the Inner Circle either. He's more of a poor relation that must be tolerated, but who is more or less pleasant enough that doing so isn't a chore.


Mochaspresso Gary wrote: "I don't think Nick is in Daisy (or Tom's) circle. He's a social acquaintance and maybe he can call on them without too much formality, but he's not "in" with them. Tom doesn't let him in on busin..."

Nick is Daisy's relative yet Tom trusts him enough to take him along on his outings to visit his mistress. He trusts Nick enough to feel confident that he won't say anything to Daisy about it. How much more "in" can you be?


message 26: by Gary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary Mochaspresso wrote: "Nick is Daisy's relative yet Tom trusts him enough to take him along on his outings to visit his mistress. He trusts Nick enough to feel confident that he won't say anything to Daisy about it. How much more "in" can you be?"

Tom's relationship with Myrtle isn't really a secret. They have a party. Tom shows her off to Nick as an expression of his masculinity and sense of empowerment. He doesn't care if Nick tells Daisy because he knows leaving him isn't really an option for her, especially not over something as trivial as him fooling around with some "trashy" woman.


Geoffrey So still that doesn`t explain why Nick is gallavanting about with Tom and Daisy. They share many events, not just the one you mention Gary. He`s definitely a part of their "in crowd". There shouldn`t be any doubt about it.


message 28: by Gary (last edited Dec 08, 2013 03:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary He's part of their social life, but their "in crowd"? Nope. He's more of a tourist in their lives (or they are in his.) Daisy amuses herself tinkering around in his life, but she knows very little about him. She seems flummoxed by his comments about not having money. That's not somebody who is part of someone's close circle of friends.

Indeed, that's one of the point of FSF's narrative. The rich have their own rules, their own sense of justice, their own morality and their own Society (capital "S") which expressly excludes everyone else--even the nouveau riche like Gatsby.


Geoffrey And yet at the end of the novel, it`s so very important for Tom to gain Nick`s friendship. No, Nick and Jay are their playthings for the summer, and yes, temporarily they are part of that segment of the jet set. And yes, SF tried to make it out that they were not part of their "in crowd" but again I fault SF for the actions of the novel contradicting his purported intent.
That is my major criticism of the novel in that SF undermines his own insights into the "broken American dream". A truer rendition of that fallacy would have been to have the hero earn his wealth/socioeconomic class through legitimate means.


message 30: by ch (new) - rated it 4 stars

ch Geoffrey wrote: "A truer rendition of that fallacy would have been to have the hero earn his wealth/socioeconomic class through legitimate means. "

I agree, Geoffrey, which is why I consider the book to be a classic tragedy, not a love story or a social commentary.


message 31: by Gary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary Geoffrey wrote: "And yet at the end of the novel, it`s so very important for Tom to gain Nick`s friendship."

It's been a while... but I don't recall that. My memory of that sequence is that Tom is more or less dismissive of Nick. What indicates this importance on Tom's part?


Anthony Watkins Tom and Daisy are fond of Nick because he reassures them that they have always "had it" I think tom takes him to see the girlfriend because in that era, men would not have thought of betraying another man to any woman. (just reread it today, glad i did, i had a few things turned sideways in my head over the past 40 yrs, but still one of my favorite


message 33: by Geoffrey (last edited Dec 08, 2013 08:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Gary
Yes, there is an entire scene in at almost the end of the novel when Tom and Nick bump into each other. Nick snubs Tom/or criticizes him harshly and Tom whines, self-pityingly as to what was he supposed to do...let Jay walk over his marriage, steal his wife, jeopardize his social standing, etc. and Nick ends up sympathetic and shakes Tom`s hand. It`s another disgusting aspect of Nick...he ends up betraying the memory of his hero/best friend by befriending the man responsible for his death. All those people were sleazoids.


Anthony Watkins Tom and Nick were friends from school days, it is easy to see how he would have forgiven him. and yes, they are all sleazoids, as so many of the rich society set are. not that being poor makes anyone a saint, only that the rich can do so much disgusting evil because they are wealthy. i think FSF was trying to show that in a time when the rich were viewed as saints BECAUSE they were rich. too many folks feel that way today.


message 35: by ch (last edited Dec 09, 2013 06:12AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ch Anthony wrote: "only that the rich can do so much disgusting evil because they are wealthy"

I think that FSF wanted the reader to think this, but it isn't true in fact. I think FSF had a massive chip on his shoulder in this regard, fueled by his relationship with his wife.

In fact there are sleazoids in every walk of life. As I've said before, the mutual haterd of rich/poor is based on the same perspective: that the other is a sleazoid. Even FSF was clever enough to make Wilson a sleazoid too: authoritarian to the point of criminal toward his wife and a murderer in the end.


Anthony Watkins Ch, I would say most people rich and poor, are generally decent, though not saints, but the impact of the rich minority, who make up the majority the society types, is disproportionate to their numbers because of the power of the money. The handful of evil poor can either be ignored or locked up, as their peers see fit. Much harder to do either if the slime ball is rich.


message 37: by ch (new) - rated it 4 stars

ch Anthony wrote: "Ch, I would say most people rich and poor, are generally decent, though not saints, but the impact of the rich minority, who make up the majority the society types, is disproportionate to their num..."

The power of money can be and is often is also used for constructive purposes. My objection to SFS's presentation and the subsequent popular interpretation of the book is that wealth=sleazoid. Wealth=power, simply. I don't agree with moralizing interpretations, however seductively written. I don't think that banging the drum of class conflict is useful in general or terribly relevant to this book. My comment isn't directed at you, Anthony, in argument, I'm just stating my opinion generally.


Anthony Watkins Fair enough, from my perspective, the concentration of wealth into the hands of one or a relatively few people is inherently evil. Capitalism is basically the art of stealing natural resources from the community and then trucking/persuading that community to create value from those materials in a fashion that accrues that value disproportionately to the capitalist


message 39: by ch (last edited Dec 09, 2013 08:19AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ch Anthony wrote: "Fair enough, from my perspective, the concentration of wealth into the hands of one or a relatively few people is inherently evil. Capitalism is basically the art of stealing natural resources from..."

I'm not a fan of capitalism myself.

Having or accumulating wealth is not always the result of capitalism. In terms of the book, Gatsby is the only capitalist. Tom and Daisy inherited. So if there is any moralizing to be done in that regard, it is in favor of Tom's disgust for Gatsby's bootlegging.

The book is very complex. It is also very provocative. I don't think that the popular interpretation of class conflict does justice to this work.


Anthony Watkins It is very hard to inherit money that wasn't made by the process I described. Yes life is complex. I think FSF did a nice job if getting at that


message 41: by ch (last edited Dec 09, 2013 09:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ch Anthony wrote: "It is very hard to inherit money that wasn't made by the process I described. "

This book responds to the New American Dream, which was the shift away from social mobility through work and opportunity toward instant riches acquired through resource speculation - specifically the Gold Rush, but also oil and mineral speculation. The latest craze of that era, market speculation, is a form of capitalism, though.

Tom's and Daisy's families could have acquired their wealth through capitalism, I'm not saying they did or didn't; we don't know, and FSF didn't seem to think that it was as important as the culture in which the children were raised.

I think that capitalism is now essential to wealth accumulation today, but not so much at the time of the book's writing.

A very short book for such a big story!


Kasandra While reading this thread I came up with a thought that I hadn't noticed anyone mention...

Is the relationship real between these "friends"? It has been years since I read the book, but I recall the book starting when Nick moves in next to Gatsby, so maybe the friendship exists solely for that purpose. When Tom and Daisy find out Nick lives next door to Gatsby he is granted that "inner circle" status, I'm not sure there is any evidence Nick was at this status prior to living next to Gatsby.

Daisy has a way back into Gatsby's life through Nick. And Tom has a way to expose the true vileness he sees in Gatsby's "kind" by using Nick. It just shows another way people are used by the upper class in society. I find it hard to believe that either Tom or Daisy really cared about Nick at all... even if he was a confidant or technically family, given their extensive level of selfishness.


Martin I've always gotten the impression that Nick is part of Daisy's social class, perhaps not as rich, but certainly high up enough to look down on social climbers like Gatsby, who he says usually represent "everything for which I have unaffected scorn." He says in Chapter One that his people are "well-to-do," and he attends Yale with Tom--certainly not as a financial equal, but as a member of the same "senior society." And he's also connected to Daisy by blood, close enough that Daisy even expects Nick to have attended her wedding.


message 44: by Gary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary Geoffrey wrote: "Yes, there is an entire scene in at almost the end of the novel when Tom and Nick bump into each other. Nick snubs Tom/or criticizes him harshly and Tom whines, self-pityingly as to what was h..."

Right, right. It's all coming back to me....

Still, I don't know if that's evidence that he is in their inner circle. Rather, it seems like Tom justifying his special status and Nick kowtowing once again. "Friends" in a superficial way, but not really inner circle kind of interaction.


message 45: by Gary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary I suppose an ancillary question would be "Can the very wealthy truly ever be 'friends' with those who are not wealthy?"

I don't mean the 1% here. Tom and Daisy are the 1% of the 1%. Mitt Romney or John Kerry (though he married rich... he's more like Daisy than Tom) to, say, Joe the Plumber or Jane the Housewife. Maybe even above that status.

I think FSF's premise is that they cannot be friends in the sense that most people really mean that term. They can be friendly, but the social class barrier is always there, even in American society.


message 46: by ch (new) - rated it 4 stars

ch Cross-cultural relationships are always difficult and sometimes impossible. Of course all kinds of people have friendships, but usually relationships are not cross-cultural. What (I think) is considered cultural tolerance today is actually diversity within a global middle class that shares (more or less) one culture.

There still remain other cultures than that of the global middle class, but they aren't as visible due to the dominance of the middle class in numbers, media, and the market.

I don't consider American politicians to be upper class. I think that they are almost all upper middle class.

You are hinting, Gary, at the reason that I feel that this is a story about culture clash that includes a socioeconomic quality rather than a story about socioeconomics with a cultural element.


message 47: by Gary (last edited Dec 09, 2013 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary Social class is a bit of a taboo concept in the U.S. We like to pretend that it doesn't really matter (in the same way we like to pretend we're free...) and that money is incidental. Granted, social class isn't the same concept in the U.S. as it is in India or any number of European nations, and there is--arguably--more mobility within the concept, but it remains an important factor.

FSF was more or less describing the social system of the 20's. In bold strokes, I'd argue that system is still in place, though certain factors have certainly shifted.


Mochaspresso Martin wrote: "I've always gotten the impression that Nick is part of Daisy's social class, perhaps not as rich, but certainly high up enough to look down on social climbers like Gatsby, who he says usually repre..."

I agree. I think some posters are operating under the misconception that Nick was poor or not of the same social class as Tom and Daisy.


Martin Mochaspresso wrote: "Martin wrote: "I've always gotten the impression that Nick is part of Daisy's social class, perhaps not as rich, but certainly high up enough to look down on social climbers like Gatsby, who he say..."

At one point Nick even says, "I'm too poor," but I think there's a certain amount of irony in the statement.


message 50: by Ruth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth Chatlien I don't think Daisy is a particularly happy person, and because Nick is her cousin, I think he might represent her girlhood, which was simpler and less troubled. That could one reason they accept him into their circle even if he isn't as wealthy as they are. And as others have pointed out, he comes from a good social background.


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