Character Analysis Of Nick In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, returns from the Great War restless and with a larger worldview than the narrow rural outlook he had before his departure. This causes Nick to leave the wholesale hardware business that his family had run in Minnesota since the civil war (pg. 7) and explore a new frontier. He eventually convinces his father to support him for a year and travels east to New York City in order to “learn the bond business” (pg. 5) which exposes the reader to the fateful events of The Great Gatsby. Through the course of the novel Nick is forced to disillusion himself from New York’s society and realize how rotten the core of New York’s society really is after observing the lives of Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy. Due to …show more content…
Fitzgerald portrays Nick as a passive character. For instance, the fact that Nick turned thirty during the climax of the novel when Tom and Gatsby were arguing creates the impression that Nick is so insignificant that even his thirtieth birthday (pg. 145), a major milestone, is overshadowed by the problems of the more important and wealthy elite. However, a more thorough analysis of the novel reveals that Nick is vital to the events in the novel. Just as a catalyst facilitates a reaction in science, Nick facilitates the “affair” between Gatsby and Daisy by allowing them to meet in his home (pg. 86). This event is of paramount importance as it leads to the rekindling of love between Daisy and Gatsby, which may not have been otherwise possible (pg. 86). This singular event drives most if not all of the rest of the novel. For instance, the climax of the novel when Tom and Gatsby fight over who is loved by Daisy (pg. 139) only occurs after Tom discovers Daisy’s “affair”. Although Nick is not actively involved in the events, he steers and ultimately shapes the course of key events in the …show more content…
First, Nick is already familiar with the Buchanans: Nick and Daisy are Cousins (pg. 10) while Nick and Tom went to college together and were members of the same senior society (pg. 11). Furthermore, Nick is an ideal narrator because of his temperament. As he mentions in Chapter I, he is “inclined to reserve all judgment” (pg. 3), which leads others to trust him completely and tell him their secrets. This can be seen particularly well with Gatsby as he trusts Nick as a true friend and even tells Nick his innermost secret, his love for Daisy. Through his role as a narrator, Nick is able to wield a powerful weapon that the reader may not realize he has at a cursory glance. The mind of the reader. Because what the reader knows comes from Nick, he or she is forced to believe and accept Nick’s judgments of the remaining characters. For example, although Gatsby is a bootlegger (pg. 114) with gang connections (pg. 78) that is trying to steal another man’s wife, the reader still loves him and sees him as the protagonist of the novel. Why? Because Nick believes and likes him. When Nick says, “I had one of those complete renewals of faith in him that I’d experienced before” (pg. 138) it is not only his faith in Gatsby that is renewed but the readers as well. Nicks position as the narrator of The Great Gatsby allows him to influence the reader’s thoughts and opinions of the characters and events that

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