Heroism in the Great Gatsby

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Nick Carraway – Heroic Homecoming

A hero is someone we admire for bravery or nobility. Nick Carraway possesses a certain kind of nobility – he is a character that others need by their side as a companion or a helper. His holding off on making judgments of others is a quality that even Tom wants proximity to. But Nick eventually does make judgments, and he doesn’t keep them to himself. Significantly, he not only breaks off with Jordan Baker, he reminds her that he is 30, and is five years too old to lie to himself and call it honour. Heroes make poor liars. A hero is decisive. For Nick, this comes in the form of rejecting the lifestyle of the millionaires, in particular its snobbery, dishonesty, and consumption. This is a quiet triumph, allowing Nick to continue on his personal journey of self-knowledge, which is essential to maturity. Returning to the Midwest is not an attempt to repeat the past, as Gatsby’s attempts to entice Daisy back to him were. It demonstrates Nick’s understanding of who he truly is (middle class, small town, honest in his relationships). We must also keep in mind when Nick leaves the East, not simply that he left it. Nick lacks the physical heroics of an Indiana Jones-type hero, but he still attempts to save Gatsby’s life. Sensing danger, he missed trains in the morning to stay with him and rushed home that same day, only to be late. But Nick stayed on, determinedly seeking out a mourner other than himself to attend the funeral. He faced cowardly excuses and slipping away by nearly everyone who had visited Gatsby’s manor. Nick’s real work in the East was giving final dignity to a friend’s life. He returned home a nobler man.
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