The Great Gatsby: the Question of Nick Carraway's Integrity

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The Great Gatsby: The Question of Nick Carraway's Integrity

In pursuing relationships, we come to know people only step by step. Unfortunately, as our knowledge of others' deepens, we often move from enchantment to disenchantment. Initially we overlook flaws or wish them away; only later do we realize peril of this course. In the novel "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the journey from delight to disappointment may be seen in the narrator, Nick Carraway. Moving from initial interest to romantic allure to moral repugnance, Nick's relationship with Jordan Baker traces a painfully familiar, all-to-human arc.

Nick's initial interest in Jordan is mainly for her looks and charm. Upon first sight of her at the Buchanan's mansion, he is at once drawn to her appearance. He Notes her body "extended full length" on the divan, her fluttering lips, and her quaintly tipped chin. He observes the lamp light that "glinted along the paper as she turned a page with a flutter of slender muscles in her arms." He is willing to overlook her gossipy chatter about Tom's extra- marital affair, and is instead beguiled by her dry witticisms and her apparent simple sunniness: "Time for this good girl to go to bed," she says. When Daisy begins her matchmaking of Nick and Jordan, we sense that she is only leading where Nick's interest is already taking him.

It is Jordan, then, who makes Nick feel comfortable at Gatsby's party, as we sense what Nick senses: they're becoming a romantic couple. As they drive home a summer house-party, Nick notes her dishonesty but forgives it, attributing it to her understandable need to get by in a man's world. She praises his lack of carelessness, tells him directly "I like you"--and he is smitten, After Jordan tells him the tale of Gatsby and Daisy's past, Nick feels a "heady excitement" because she has taken him into her confidence. Attracted by her "universal skepticism" and under the influence of his own loneliness, Nick--...
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