Nick Carraway: Narrator vs. Character
The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the story of one of the greatest love affairs of the twentieth century. While the novel is written in first person, the narrator is neither the main character nor his love interest. Instead the novel is told from the point of view of Nick Caraway, a bystander with no more knowledge of events in the story than the reader. Nick broadcasts himself as an impartial witness to the things that occur in the story but there are many flaws with his self-analysis. Nick starts as a sympathizer to the situations of his friends but his view changes when he no longer can relate to the things occurring in their lives. The reader is faced with differentiating the views of Nick the character, who tries to understand their decadence and Nick the narrator who realizes he would never fathom it. Fitzgerald chose to write the novel in this to criticize depravity of the elite during this time.
The major difference between the perspectives of Nick as the narrator and character can be explained by the time frame in which the story take place and the story is being told. The events in the novel take place during 1922 after The First Great War, where people are looking for peace and security. “I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever” (2), it was a time where Nick felt as if things should be as they are and taken at face value. This contributes to Nick’s sentimentality that is evident for a majority of the novel. These feelings differ from that of the narrator because Nick has had time to reflect on the happenings of the story and has come to a more substantial and practical view of Gatsby and his dilemma because the rose tinted glasses of the post war era. And as the story progresses Nick the narrator can no longer seem to hold his judgments and starts to infuse his opinions into the story, which contribute to the conflicting views of Nick that...
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