In the Great Gatsby what was Nick's final judgment on daisy and tom?I know that they are both self fish and that they cheat on each other and are materilist and care about looks but im having...

In the Great Gatsby what was Nick's final judgment on daisy and tom?

I know that they are both self fish and that they cheat on each other and are materilist and care about looks but im having trouble understanding Nicks Final judgement

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fitzgerald grew up, as he once said, in the poorest house on the richest block. His mother had some inherited family money, but his father was not financially successful. Fitzgerald grew up on the fringes of wealth, but never really one of the insiders. He managed to go to Princeton, but lived again on the fringes of wealth. The inside-outside view of old money found in Gatsby originated in FSF's own background.

It wasn't his courtship of Zelda that made him feel such a social outsider; it was his courtship of Genevra King while he was in college. She was a wealthy girl from Chicago, and her family made it known to FSF quite clearly that a poor boys don't marry rich girls. Sound familiar?

I have to defend Scott here. At the end of his life, he bore no resemblance to the careless and amoral Buchanans. After Zelda had been mentally ill for many years and confined to an institution in North Carolina, Fitzgerald went to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter to pay the bills. He developed a relationship with Sheila Graham, but it wasn't a tawdry affair. He was living with Graham, working on The Last Tycoon, when he died of a second heart attack.. She had tried hard to take care of him and keep him alive. All the while, he maintained contact with Zelda, supported her, paid all of her expenses, and made sure she received the best care available. He also maintained a close relationship with their daughter Scottie. FSF's letters to Scottie are numerous and filled with support and guidance. In meeting personal responsibilities, Fitzgerald was far more like Nick Carraway than the repugnant Buchanans.


scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nick's judgment is also somewhat of Fitzgerald's judgment of Old Money.  Nick states near the end of Chapter 9,

"They were careless people--Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness . . . and let other people clean up the mess they had made."

In addition to the Buchanans' selfishness and irresponsibility, Nick portrays them as immutable.  From his first description of Tom as a bullish figure and his early comments about Tom and the scandals that Daisy and he had run from, it is clear that Nick realizes that Tom and Daisy will never change their behavior.  Their cocoon of wealth will always shield them from having to deal with the sordid details of a scandal or the weightiness of guilt.

Interestingly enough, Fitzgerald had such an impression of Old Money society because of how he was treated when trying to court his wife Zelda.  But, while he condemns the rich in his novel (through Nick's words), he is himself guilty of acting quite similarly to Tom and Daisy, especially near the end of his life.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Indeed, the previous posts clearly articulate Nick's verdict on the Tom and Daisy type of people in the novel.  I think that it is interesting to see that Fitzgerald understood that the social age of the 1920's would result in this type of phoniness and inauthenticity, which found its way into the realm of economics with business practices that did not represent sound and genuine fiscal responsibility.  The lack of regard that Tom found in Daisy and Tom, the idea that "someone else would clean up their mess," might be what Fitzgerald saw in the life and times of the 1920s.  This relfective tone that he strikes is missingin much of the social order of the time period.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nick basically makes the comment at the end of the book that he's moving back home since the people in both East and West Egg are not capable of change.  They are selfish and destructive.  They leave a mess in their wake, and they never look back.  Since they are so much alike, it is not likely that they will ever leave each other for another person.  They will only entertain themselves with affairs and still attend the party with the spouse...a sort of "have your cake and eat it, too" attitude.  It is destructive and careless behavior, and Nick has decided he wants nothing to do with it.

dana-bell19 | Student

Nick comes to the conclusion that Tom and Daisy are uncaring people that destroy those around them full well knowing that because they have money they will not have to face negative consequences.

mahyi | Student

Nick regards Tom and nick as carless people. He is disgusted of their relationship and is confused by the fact that Daisy is aware of Tom's affair and doesnt do anything about it.


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The Great Gatsby

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