How would you compare and contrast Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To compare is to find similarities; let's start with the ways that Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby are alike. Both men are from the Midwest, and both have decided to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Both have goals: Nick's is to become a success on Wall Street, and Gatsby's is to win back Daisy's love. Both understand that amassing wealth takes time if you aren't lucky enough to inherit it. Both men served in the Army during WWI.

The contrasts between Nick and Gatsby begin with their upbringing. Nick has been raised in a stable family with above-average income, a father with a professional career, and a college education in the East. Gatsby, on the other hand, experienced poverty in a family of unsuccessful farmers and did not graduate from college. While Nick is pursuing financial success through legal means, Gatsby has no apparent qualms about attaining money through criminal activity.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

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