Did high school superlatives exist back in Gatsby's day? We don't know. But they do now. PREPARE TO BE JUDGED, LITERARY CHARACTERS!
Tom Buchanan is …Most Popular.
Yeah yeah, you know, this is the guy all the girls want and all the guys want to be, even if everyone secretly thinks he’s a pompous dipnugget. He’s the one who can’t decide whether to go to Penn State on a football scholarship or Cornell on a Lacrosse scholarship or University of Pennsylvania on his Amazing Jawline scholarship. He wants to work on Wall Street when he grows up, and you can totally see him as an extra on “Wall Street: Money Is Reborn.” He’s the total package: he’s good-looking and smart and funny. But if you're not one of his friends, his confidence just seems rude and his jokes often seem mean-spirited. He also tends to look down on the kids in the marching band. Which is odd, because he’s definitely got something going on with the first saxophone, even though he and Daisy have been going out for years...
Jay Gatsby is … Most Likely to Succeed.
Every class has one kid who seems to gain popularity overnight and out of nowhere. Maybe it happened when he started wearing bandanas every day. Maybe it happened when someone found out he's cousins with Shakira. Nobody knows for sure, but they do know that he throws the best parties at his amazing mansion and what happens at them is the stuff of high school legends. He’s also that kid that seems to know a little bit about everything. He trades stocks with his allowance and goes to the opera. When he has a conversation with you, he makes you feel like he really cares about whatever you’re talking about, but you also kind of get the sense that he’s never fully present, or at least not being himself. He’s so good at working people over that Tom doesn’t seem to realize he’s making some plays of his own—for Daisy.
Daisy Buchanan is … One Half of Best Couple.
She’s Tom’s girl and has been for what seems like forever. She’s beautiful. She’s trendy, yet classic, always looks like a million bucks, never looks like she’s trying. If there’s a new dance move, she knows it before anybody else. If a song’s going to top the charts, she was singing the chorus the week before. For some reason, no one wants to kill her for being so perfect. Perhaps it's because she sometimes seems like she’s pretending to be happier than she actually is. Maybe she’s not so happy just being Tom’s Girlfriend and she’s ready to break out on her own...but she'd never do that before senior superlatives come out!
Nick Carraway is … Most Likely to Be Biggest Brown-Noser.
There’s always that one underclassman who manages to hang out with the popular seniors and won't give any of his other classmates the time of day. That’s Nick. Not particularly outstanding in any way and yet he’s gained entry into the highest of high school social circles by his sophomore year. He’s got the new-kid mystique working for him. He spent his awkward middle school years in another district across state lines so he’s not haunted by his past like everybody else in high school. Plus, whether you’re in the Jazz Age or the Jazz Band, it’s all about who you know, and Nick knows the right people. He and Daisy are cousins, which would have scored him a spot at the cool lunch table in and of itself, but he’s also Gatsby’s neighbor and since Gatsby has a thing for Daisy, he’s definitely getting some preferential treatment.
Myrtle Wilson is … Most Musical.
There’s a saying that politics makes for strange bedfellows. Well, so does high school. And this pairing is one of the strangest ones of all. Rumors are flying about the sweet music she’s making with Tom. You can’t even imagine how the two would even know each other until you remember that’ she’s also in marching band and the band fights with the football team for practice space on the field every September. She’s definitely not in the “in crowd” though. Tom may look for her in the lonely hours because her parents bought her an unlimited text plan, but when school’s in session, Daisy’s the one wearing his jacket and holding his hand in the halls. She works hard for everything she has but she’s still sort of invisible to some of her high school classmates, which is probably how she and Tom have managed to stay under Daisy’s radar for so long. She and Gatsby also seem to have an odd little friendship going, but that’s not surprising since it seems Gatsby knows everybody.
Did we get it right?