Consequences of Nick Carraway as Narrator of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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The Importance of Nick Carraway as Narrator of The Great Gatsby

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald critiques the disillusionment of the American Dream by contrasting the corruption of those who adopt a superficial lifestyle with the honesty of Nick Carraway. As Carraway familiarizes himself with the lives of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker and Jay Gatsby, he realizes the false seductiveness of the New York lifestyle and regains respect for the Midwest he left behind. "Fitzgerald needs an objective narrator to convey and prove this criticism, and uses Carraway not only as the point of view character, but also as a counter example to the immorality and dishonesty Carraway finds in New York" (Bewley 31). Fitzgerald must construct
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The reader needs an observer, objective and reliable, to dictate the story, and that is what Fitzgerald delivers in Carraway.

Carraway's honesty is earned through Fitzgerald's characterization of him. Carraway says he is "inclined to reserve all judgements" (Fitzgerald 5). "An objective narrator must possess honesty to be viewed as a reliable source" (Raleigh 101). Also, Carraway establishes his integrity by admitting to the fallacy of his lineage: "The Carraways ... have a tradition that we're descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather's brother" (Fitzgerald 7). For those families in East Egg who distinguish themselves by their ancestors, acknowledging a lesser line of descent would result in social disaster. Carraway's honesty is highlighted by this contrast of East versus West mentality. Carraway exhibits honesty in the realm of the superficial and pretentious in the choices he makes. He earns a living in the bond business; he does not inherit his money like Buchanan, nor does he steal it like Gatsby. Carraway is an honest man earning an honest living. This trend continues when Wolfshiem propositions him with a "business gonnegtion" and Carraway declines (Fitzgerald 75). Carraway understands the illicit nature of Gatsby's business and wants nothing to do with it. If these instances are not enough to seal Carraway's honesty, he says "I am one of the few

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