The Great Gatsby--Nick as an Unreliable Narrator

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The Great Gatsby--Nick as an Unreliable Narrator

By | June 2012
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You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together” says Nick Carraway the Narrator toward the end of the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. We are lead to believe that even though Gatsby is fixed on reliving the past and is involved in illegal activity Nick still thinks he is a better character than all the rest. A good Narrator is someone who the reader can rely on to portray what is happening in the story without passing any judgment of their own, But Nick is an unreliable narrator because he passes judgment on his characters, his relationships with other characters are not strong, and he only knows second hand knowledge.

“I’m inclined to reserve all judgments” Nick said at the beginning of the novel when he was providing the reader background knowledge of his personal beliefs. But nick is untrue to his word because throughout the story he is judging all the characters. For example, in chapter 1 when Nick made the comment “Gatsby who represented everything for with I have an unaffected scorn” meant that Nick disliked everything Gatsby was in life. This quote has pin pointed Nick as being biases toward another character. Another example was when Nick labeled his father as being snobbish in chapter 1 after his father gave him some helpful advice. In chapter 3 when Nick says “Her face…contained no facet or gleam of beauty” this quote is describing how Nick sees Myrtle which is yet another example of Nick’s judgmental side.

Nick is an unreliable narrator because he is unable to make a good assessment of the characters because his relationship with them isn’t strong. “I was within and without” Nick says explaining that he is both involved in the characters’ lives but at the same time distanced himself from them. Nick doesn’t allow himself to get close with any of the characters because he is so focused on his own life he is completely unmindful about the lives of others. For example, in chapter 3 when Nick asks Gatsby who he is and in reply Gatsby...

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