Daisy was my second cousin once removed, and I’d known Tom in college. And just after the war I spent two days with them in Chicago.
The degree of Nick’s relation to the Buchanans becomes very significant at the end of the novel. Though he met them once before, the reality is that he hardly knows and has very little in common with these people. His distance from them becomes relevant in Nick’s final realization that he is much more like Gatsby than Daisy and Tom. The night Myrtle is hit by Gatsby’s car, Nick sees the two of them calmly eating dinner together:
There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture and anybody would have said that they were conspiring together.
Following the traumatic, climactic event of the car accident, the word “conspiring” begins to set up the Buchanans and the other characters in an “us-versus-them” situation. This theme is continued when Nick compliments Gatsby a few days later:
First he nodded politely, and then his face broke into that radiant and understanding smile, as if we’d been in ecstatic cahoots on that fact all the time.
Though at the beginning Nick seems to want to fit in with the old rich, after the events of the novel, Nick completely rejects this society. It is significant that he is not exactly one of the Buchanans because he ends up feeling like he belongs with and has more respect for Gatsby than anyone else in the Eggs.
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