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

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The Role of Nick Carraway as Narrator of The Great Gatsby

In The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald presents a specific portrait of American society during the roaring twenties and tells the story of a man who rises from the gutter to great riches. This man, Jay Gatsby, does not realize that his new wealth cannot give him the privileges of class and status. Nick Carraway who is from a prominent mid-western family tells the story. Nick presents himself as a reliable narrator, when actually several events in the novel prove he is an unreliable narrator. Although Nick Carraway may be an unreliable narrator, he is the best narrator for the novel because he creates the correct effect.

Nick Carraway wants the reader to
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These are but a few examples of the judgments Nick passes about the characters in this novel. When Nick judges the characters it shows how he cannot resist the temptation to be critical of every little fault with each character whether it has to do with their appearance, personality, or actions.

Nick is an unreliable narrator because he is partial to certain characters in the novel. This is most evident when he speaks about Jay Gatsby. Although Nick starts the story out very critical of Gatsby because he thinks he is a fraud, eventually as he gets to know Gatsby better and becomes partial to him. He learns to tolerate and maybe even like Gatsby because Gatsby has an "extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness." Nick decides to overlook the moral implications of Gatsby's bootlegging, association with the speakeasies, and with Meyer Wolfsheim, the man rumored to have fixed the World Series in 1919 (Daley). Maybe he does this because he admires Gatsby's passion and commitment to his dreams, something he himself is afraid to do. Gatsby's biggest dream was to have his true love Daisy Buchanan as his own. He was in love with her but could not have her because they were not on the same social level. This does not stop him from pursuing her anyway.

While Nick is willing to overlook Gatsby's very illegal practices he cannot ignore the idea that Jordan Baker might of cheated in a golf game.
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