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Nick Carraways view on Gatsby

In the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitgerald, the narrator is Nick Carraway. We trust the narrator. We take on his perspective. He becomes our eyes and ears in this story. In The Great Gatsby, Nick goes to some length to establish his credibility. He starts off right away by mentioning his upbringing by using his fathers words about his own advantages. Nick tries to tell us that his upbringing gave him the morals to withstand and pass judgement on an amoral world, particularly talking about the one he lived in, NYC.

He says that such an upbringing has “inclined [him] to reserve all judgments” about other people. He admits early into the story that he makes an exception of judging Gatsby, because Gatsby had an “extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness”. Nick overlooks the moral entanglements of Gatsby’s bootlegging, and with Meyer Wolfsheim, the man rumored to have fixed the World Series in 1919. Yet, he is scornful of Jordan Baker for cheating in a mere golf game. The only genuine affection in the novel is shown by Nick towards Gatsby.

He admires Gatsby’s optimism. Nick is “in love” with Gatsby’s capacity to dream and ability to live as if the dream were to come true, and it is this that defies his judgment of Gatsby and therefore conceals our grasp on Gatsby. When Gatsby takes Nick to one side and tells him of his origins, he starts to say that he was “the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West – all dead now . . . ” The truth (of his origins) doesn’t matter to Gatsby; what matters to him is being part of Daisy’s world or Daisy being a part of his.

Gatsby’s sense of what is true and real is of an entirely other order to Nick’s. If he were motivated by truth, Gatsby would still be poor Jay Gatz with a hopelessly vain dream. Recall the passage where Nick says to Gatsby that you can’t repeat the past, and Gatsby’s skepticism at this. Nick begins to understand for the first time the level of Gatsby’s desire for a Daisy who no longer exists.

It astounds Nick: “I gathered that he wanted to recover something . . . that had gone into loving Daisy . . . t of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees . . . Through all he said, even through his appalling sentimentality, I was reminded of something – an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard somewhere a long time ago . . . ” Nick Carraway admires Gatsby because of his strong hope in a dream that he has. Although Gatsby is lost and becomes corrupt, he is different then the others because he holds on to something that he chrerishes.

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