• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is the Role of Nick Carraway in the Great Gatsby?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What is the role of Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby? Jonathan Quaade 29th March 2012 In the Great Gatsby Nick Carraway plays the role of the narrator, who's the audience's opinions of the environment and the characters in the novel are based on. Nick tries to be objective at all times, but Fitzgerald's voice often shines through Nick's judgement. Throughout the novel, Nick is the readers guide to the events that occur, as Nick defines a contrast between himself and the people around him, and because he is unaffected by the parade of infidelity of the people around him, it is easier for the reader to trust him. It is why he becomes the novel's guide, so without Nick the story would lack balance and insight. Despite the title of the novel, The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway is the first character we meet. He is introduced directly to the reader, with the first chapter dedicated to establishing his personality and his position in the novel, where as Gatsby seems distant for quite some time. He states, "It was Gatsby's mansion. Or rather as I didn't know Mr. Gatsby... inhabited by a gentleman of that name", and Gatsby therefore becomes a remote character until his introduction, but a relationship is established with Nick and the reader occurs early on. ...read more.

Middle

Ironically enough, this really isn't the case. He makes an exception to that statement when he judges Gatsby, whom he says has an, " an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again," but he also mentions that Gatsby represents everything he has "unaffected scorn" for. It shows that Nick is trustworthy and objective, but also has some biased opinions that the readers takes on as their own due to his credibility. Fitzgerald establishment of Nick's reflective and tolerant personality is vital to the comprehension of the novel's context. We can't dismiss him as a character as his perspective on the events becomes the reader's opinions as well. Nick' aims to be truthful and objective, which makes the reader and the characters trust him. He is not one of the "careless people," but he has conscience and is unselfish, and demonstrates this decency at Gatsby's funeral. A stark contrast to the demonstrative, superficial and selfish natures of characters like Tom and Daisy, who step on everything and everyone in their way. When he says that Gatsby has a "rare smile with a quality of eternal reassurance in it," we know Nick's isn't being charmed by his riches or parties; but is telling it to us frankly. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is an author who "speaks" indirectly to us through Nick. Fitzgerald makes amusingly contemptuous remarks about his environment that shows a sense of humour and as a result doesn't bore the reader in the long run. Nick often functions as Fitzgerald's voice such as the extended mediation on time, and the American Dream at the end of Chapter 9 where Fitzgerald seems to shine through the words on the page. While Gatsby and what he stands for is clearly the focus of the book, an argument can be made that Nick is the main character of the novel. The reader becomes attached to Nick so early on, and base our opinions on his observations that if we were deprived of him our perspective on this world would become extremely disparate. Nick is a more in-depth and trustworthy character in novel and since practically every part of the story is described to us with his thoughts and his perceptions, it is hard for him not to the main character, especially since Fitzgerald's opinions are presented through him. The reader leaves the story feeling they understand whose actions and judgments they support. He is the narrator but his involvement in the events, no matter how much he tries to stay objective, ultimately, fabricate the reader's opinions due to his trustworthiness and tolerance. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level F. Scott Fitzgerald section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    HOW DOES FITZGERALD TELL THE STORY IN CHAPTER 1 OF THE GREAT GATSBY?

    5 star(s)

    Fitzgerald's use of time has an effective simplicity about it in Chapter 1. The events have clearly been told in chronological order, but the reader is made aware by Nick that he is recounting the tale retrospectively (i.e.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The role of minor characters in the novel, The Great Gatsby

    3 star(s)

    Besides revealing Tom as an unfaithful husband, Myrtle's character also shines light on Tom's egotistical trait, which can be seen when he disapproves of Daisy and Gatsby's relationship although he has an intimate relationship with Myrtle. Furthermore, Myrtle also presents readers with the brutal side of Tom.

  1. Tender is the night - To what extent is Dick an embodiment of American ...

    We can see the corruption of Hollywood and how the American Dream is failing. Through imagery and symbolism that is used in this novel some readers would take the view that Dick is the victim and the new world he is living in is corrupting him.

  2. Three characters in The Great Gatsby and the theme of obsession

    he saw her again in Nick's cottage and she "tumbled short of his dreams." Nick said that this diminishing of Daisy in Gatsby's eyes was not her fault, but was the result of "the colossal vitality of his illusion." I have to disagree with Post #3.

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

    are contributors in the reflection of the society in which they live. Daisy for example, appears rather like an unintelligent trophy wife, but is revealed to be all too aware of how the world - and the men that rule it - works and hopes for her daughter, that she'll

  2. It is Nick who makes Jay Gatsby into The Great Gatsby(TM). With close reference ...

    Similarly, the values admired in Gatz's willingness and determination to work for and succeed in gaining his dreams are symbolically those lost values of society that had appealed to Fitzgerald, and would appeal to Nick's sensibilities, which is why Nick still portrays Gatsby as being "great" in contrast to Jazz

  1. The real hero of The Great Gatsby is not Gatsby but the narrator Nick ...

    Lancelot is, ?bound by oath to protect ladies.? Likewise, Gatsby cares deeply for Daisy: ?I want to wait here till Daisy goes to bed.? Gatsby is also willing to sacrifice his own reputation for Daisy?s sake after the car accident: ?but of course, I?ll say that I was [driving].? In

  2. The Great Gatsby: Different Kinds of Love

    It is what is expected of her that draws her away, her socially acceptable husband and high status life. Fitzgerald portrays the pavement as a set of steps; ?Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalk really formed a ladder...? Fitzgerald may have chosen to include this as a reflection of the ?ladder of love? as created by Plato.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work