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Nick Carraway is the most important character in "A Great Gatsby". Discuss.

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The Great Gatsby - Nick Carraway "Nick Carraway is the most important character in the novel." Discuss the character and role, showing any grounds of agreement in this statement. Nick Carraway comes off as a listener and honest man, which seems to give everyone in the novel an incentive to trust him - and these "intimate revelations" are essentially what catalyses the initiation of the plot and subsequently the termination of it. Nick's lack of saying anything of importance at all causes everything else to be said. Perhaps one of the most obvious reasons why Nick would be an important character is because he's the narrator and well deservedly so. Throughout the entire novel, he is almost exclusively a spectator to the events that occur and doesn't really take an active role in any of the events that take place. Even in his relationship with Jordan Baker, he seems far less active and passionate, than any of the other characters do in theirs, and seems reluctant to meet her (page 99), even though he's "half in love with her". But despite his lack of having an active role, he still manages to spectate on such a huge variety of events, which is mainly because he is persuaded or forced along by the other characters, perhaps most obviously with Tom's physical insistence that "turned" him around, and with Gatsby's very ungentlemanly and presumptuous manners: "Good-morning, old sport. ...read more.


But Nick already betrays this very trust which we put in him in the first chapter, when he goes against his apparent principles and in fact lays subtle judgment on all the characters. While he doesn't specifically say anything derogatory of any of the characters, it is however evident through the choice of words that Nick use, that they are not beyond his judgment, such as Tom, whose very actions are judged by Nick's use of adjectives that he transcribes them, (e.g. "intently", "coldly", "decisively" etc.) While you could argue that these are not definitive or judgmental of the characters, these are their actions as seen by Nick - and Nick, being the narrator, words it how he sees it. But that is perhaps the most major flaw of Nick's supposed "honesty" is the fact that he is the narrator but at the same time a character, and as such is biased by default. He is emulating the entire story and so whatever he says, is only true so long as he wants it to be, so essentially Nick is by his very nature untrustworthy. But one could argue that the main reason why Nick is so important is because of the connections between characters that he provides, not only by being the narrator but also because of the ties that he shares with all most of the main characters. ...read more.


Of course, people don't go to Gatsby's parties because Gatsby is having them, rather than just going to them because it's a party: "They came and went/for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission" Nick himself would likely argue that it is indeed Gatsby who's the more important figure, as Gatsby makes a huge first impression on Nick, who describes his smile as one of "irresistible prejudice in your favor". No other characters makes as seemingly big impressions on Nick, and certainly not in a near as positive light. Nick cannot seem to fully dislike Gatsby, no matter how much he believes and says he should. He knows that Gatsby represents all for which he has that "unaffected scorn", in that he is a bootlegger and associates with criminals, but still cannot help but feel that there is "something gorgeous about him". Nick is important to the extent that without him, the story would not be told, that much is certain. But that doesn't make him the most important character. He doesn't offer much to the plot or storyline in general, he merely observes, and it is Gatsby who the novel really focuses on and Gatsby, who gives Nick's storytelling a meaning, as he is invariably The Great Gatsby. - Niels Gade ...read more.

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