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The Great Gatsby's Nick Carraway

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Atupele Ndisale October 22, 2008 Nick Carraway (Character Study) IB English HL In his much-admired novel, entitled The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald provides us with a variety of characters, themes, motifs, and symbols that all together chronicle an era that Fitzgerald himself refers to as the Jazz Age. One of the keystones or main characters of the novel, however, that he uses to explore this era, particularly its flaws, is Nick Carraway, our guide or the narrator in The Great Gatsby. Through his employment of a partially involved narrator, we don't only gain insight into his perspective and standpoint, but become all the more associated with the somewhat unachievable lifelong dream of Jay Gatsby, another essential character in the novel that very much depicts the decay in the American dream. This is particularly due to Carraway's nature/personality, which explains why Fitzgerald uses him as his narrator in The Great Gatsby. One of Nick's most admirable qualities that label him as a logical choice as narrator is his aim or determination to always be objective, or free of bias, established early in the novel. ...read more.


This particularly reflects on both his harsh attitude and shallowness, which is seen especially in his relationship with Myrtle Wilson. We get an even better glimpse of Nick's excellent observation skills in his first close inspection of Gatsby, admitting that "he had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life". This mere description of Gatsby already informs /acquaints the reader with the character's charisma, reflecting on how effective Nick's first person viewpoint is. However, Nick's ability to accurately observe, doesn't only relate his knack of effectively describing characters; it also relates to his ability to form descriptions that, in turn, draw attention to a variety of themes, symbols, and motifs in the novel. For instance, in describing Gatsby's view of the green light, or "the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us", we become aware of the importance of the past to dreams of the future, particularly in Gatsby (171). ...read more.


He makes this link very much apparent towards the end of the novel, where the possibility of fulfilling a dream simply if you try - the American dream - is questioned, due to the fact that such characters as Gatsby were unsuccessful, mainly because of the ways in which they went or go about it. In fact, it's the same dream that kills him in the end, making the attempt of duplicating one's past seem all the more impossible. In conclusion, regardless Fitzgerald's purposely added imperfections and limitations to Nick, it's becomes quite evident, particularly towards the end of the The Great Gatsby, that Nick Carraway is essentially a version of Fitzgerald's ideal self-image. This is made all the more clear in Nick's decision, unlike Fitzgerald in real life, to move back, in this case, Minnesota. Nevertheless, at this point, it's also apparent that Nick was beyond a logical choice as narrator in the novel, due to a variety of reasons, which were all covered in the paper. ...read more.

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