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Nick Carraway?s view on Gatsby

In the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitgerald, the narrator is Nick

Carraway. We trust the narrator. We take on his perspective. He becomes our eyes

and ears in this story. In The Great Gatsby, Nick goes to some length to

establish his credibility. He starts off right away by mentioning his upbringing

by using his fathers words about his own ?advantages?. Nick tries to tell us

that his upbringing gave him the morals to withstand and pass judgement on an

amoral world, particularly talking about the one he lived in, NYC. He says that

such an upbringing has "inclined [him] to reserve all judgments" about

other people.

He admits early into the story that he makes an exception of judging Gatsby,

because Gatsby had an "extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic

readiness". Nick overlooks the moral entanglements of Gatsby’s bootlegging,

and with Meyer Wolfsheim, the man rumored to have fixed the World Series in

1919. Yet, he is scornful of Jordan Baker for cheating in a mere golf game.

The only genuine affection in the novel is shown by Nick towards Gatsby. He

admires Gatsby’s optimism. Nick is "in love" with Gatsby’s capacity to

dream and ability to live as if the dream were to come true, and it is this that

defies his judgment of Gatsby and therefore conceals our grasp on Gatsby. When

Gatsby takes Nick to one side and tells him of his origins, he starts to say

that he was "the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West – all dead

now . . ." The truth (of his origins) doesn’t matter to Gatsby; what

matters to him is being part of Daisy’s world or Daisy being a part of his.

Gatsby’s sense of what is true and real is of an entirely other order to Nick’s.

If he were motivated by truth, Gatsby would still be poor Jay Gatz with a

hopelessly vain dream.

Recall the passage where Nick says to Gatsby that you can’t repeat the past,

and Gatsby’s skepticism at this. Nick begins to understand for the first time

the level of Gatsby’s desire for a Daisy who no longer exists. It astounds Nick:

"I gathered that he wanted to recover something . . . that had gone into

loving Daisy . . . out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of

the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the

trees . . . Through all he said, even through his appalling sentimentality, I

was reminded of something – an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I

had heard somewhere a long time ago . . ."

Nick Carraway admires Gatsby because of his strong hope in a dream that he

has. Although Gatsby is lost and becomes corrupt, he is different then the

others because he holds on to something that he chrerishes.

The Great Gatsby. F. Scott. Fitzgerald. 1998 Penquin. NYC


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