What are the similarities between Nick and Tom in The Great Gatsby?

Similarities between Nick and Tom in The Great Gatsby include that they are both members of the Midwestern upper classes, educated at Yale and transplanted to the east coast. Although Nick is more sympathetic to Gatsby, they have similar attitudes to his social climbing. Nick and Tom move in the same social circles, and, though Nick is more critical of his associates, he and Tom relate to them in a similar manner.

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Nick and Tom come from the same social background, which is, not incidentally, the same as that of F. Scott Fitzgerald himself. They are of the Midwestern upper classes, transplanted to and educated in the East. Tom and Nick were at Yale together, giving them both an assurance in their social status that Gatsby lacks. In both cases, it is a qualified assurance, however, since they are not part of the east-coast aristocracy among whom they went to college. Nick dwells for rather too long on his ancestry when introducing himself, and Tom flaunts his wealth only slightly less blatantly than Gatsby does, with his string of polo ponies and his mansion built for an oil magnate.

Nick comes to detest and despise Tom. By the end of the novel, he refuses even to shake hands with him. However, this may be at least partly because he sees the similarities in their attitudes, if not their behavior, and part of his objection to Tom is a sublimated censure of himself, especially for his sneering at Gatsby....

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1025 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 12, 2020