Great Gatsby Essay - Wjec Exam Board Gcse English Lit: "Views on the Role of Nick as Narrator in the Great Gatsby Have Varied Greatly. How Do These Two Views Relate to Your Own View of Nick's Function in the Novel?"

Powerful Essays
"Views on the role of Nick as narrator in The Great Gatsby have varied greatly. How do these two views relate to your own view of Nick 's function in the novel?"

I aim to explain effectively my opinion that Fitzgerald 's use of Nick as the narrator of The Great Gatsby is a very successful literary technique. I shall do this by the analysis of the two contrasting pieces of criticism, as well as of the novel itself. I feel that the successful use of this technique can be attributed to three main elements: Nick 's geographical placing within the plot, his morality, and two aspects of his character. These are his astute observational skills and outward tolerance to "unsought…confidences" of others.

Nick must be in a position to tell enough of the story to satisfy the reader. To achieve this, Fitzgerald must create relationships between Nick and those characters from whom he is going to get the most interesting or useful information to aid the development of the plot. However, a balance must be struck between two extremes. Firstly, that Nick is so involved in the plot that he becomes noticeably biased. Also that he, and therefore the reader, is provided with too much information too quickly through the relationships that he has with the other characters. Secondly, that Nick 's relationships with characters are too distant therefore, preventing him learning anything from them by the end of the novel. If this learning process is absent, leaving Nick without motive to write the novel, one questions ultimately why Fitzgerald would use Nick as narrator. I feel that Fitzgerald has stuck this balance. Mizener commends Fitzgerald 's achievement of this when Nick is said by Mizener to be "…sufficiently near the centre of things to know all he needed to know…"

When Fitzgerald 's intentional geographical placing of Nick in the novel is considered, Nick 's objectivity becomes a factor. For example, if Nick were an Easterner, in the East, subscribing to the "careless"



Bibliography: Gary J. Scrimgeour, 'Against The Great Gatsby ', in Criticism (1966) Arthur Mizener, The Poet of Borrowed Time

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    An intriguing exchange between Nick and Gatsby takes place near the end of Chapter Six: “I wouldn’t ask too much of her,” Nick says “You can’t repeat the past.” “Can’t repeat the past?” Gatsby cries out. “Why of course you can!” (p. 110). How does the past impinge upon the present in the lives of both Nick and Gatsby? Should we see Gatsby as eccentric in his view that one cannot merely repeat, but change, the past by starting over? Past and Hope in The Great Gatsby Mason Scisco “So we beat on…

    • 1192 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Q1. Both nick and Gatsby have powerful imaginations that distort their views of reality. Discuss how this trait helps to develop their relationship and characterisation. Both Nick and Gatsby personify their views of reality throughout the novel, whereas Gatsby is deluding himself into seeing the world he has made up in his head Nick is the one observing this and telling the reader his perspective. An example of this is shown through how know one truly knows who Gatsby is, thinking he ‘killed a man’…

    • 414 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Great Gatsby as Fitzgerald’s explanation of an American Reality which contradicts the American Dream That was always my experience—a poor boy in a rich town; a poor boy in a rich boy's school; a poor boy in a rich man's club at Princeton.... However, I have never been able to forgive the rich for being rich, and it has colored my entire life and works." —F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. New York: Scribners, 1994. pg. 352. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott…

    • 1582 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    a philosophical view on 'The Great Gatsby'--using time as a key dimension to ones life theme. The Great Gatsby - Essay Topic: Time as a key dimension to one's life's theme. Time is an idea described in different periods and aspects, for example philosophical, psychological, physical and biological. This time flows evenly but is broken into the past, present and future. Since we only live in the present forever planning for our futures and dreams, when we try to live in the past it restricts…

    • 616 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Cameron Kennison Estep English III 9 March 2017 Is Nick Actually Reliable? An Analysis of the Narrator of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Nick Carraway is the narrator in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and many may agree that Nick is a reliable narrator, but there is evidence throughout the book that suggests the opposite. A closer examination of Nick’s words may strongly suggest that he is not the neutral narrator he proclaims himself to be. Not always narrating from…

    • 621 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Danielle Buck 11AP Francis April 4, 2014 3rd Period The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is told in first person through the eyes of Nick Carraway. The primary story is regarding Jay Gatsby and his devotion to his dream. Other stories, also told through Carraway’s eyes, include Tom’s reconciliation with Daisy, Nick’s own relationship with Jordan, and Nick’s evolving friendship with Gatsby. Nick is only able to tell these stories through his limited omniscience. At times, he is able to narrate…

    • 475 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    Point of view is a critical narrative technique that F. Scott Fitzgerald frequently manipulates throughout The Great Gatsby (1925) to manipulate and shape the reader’s response to the various issues explored. Point of view (in fictional writing) is the narrator’s position in relation to the story being told. Through the first person and sometimes third person limited retrospective narrative voice of Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald invites us to condemn or condone various aspects of “the roaring twenties”…

    • 2452 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    A narrator, by definition, is how an author chooses to portray information to readers in their work. An author’s choice, in how to tell a story is ideal to the effect it has on readers. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless classic The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway tells the entire story as a first-person, peripheral narrator. Fitzgerald purposefully chooses Nick as a partially removed character, with very few emotions and personal opinions. By doing so, readers experience the same ambiguity of other character’s…

    • 938 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Views of Nick Carraway F. Scott Fitzgerald writes his novel The Great Gatsby through the point of view of Nick Carraway, a young adult who finds himself in New York City after serving in the war for many years. His point of view changes throughout the story significantly, but it changes especially about Jay Gatsby, his neighbor. Gatsby is a mystery to all, but Nick becomes intrigued as he is introduced to the rumors about him. At first, there is a major confusion about who Gatsby truly is and…

    • 990 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Is nick a reliable narrator? How does his point of view colour the reality of the novel, and what facts or occurrences would he have vested interest in obscuring? Nick’s basic contempt for mankind emerges in what he says and thinks as well as in descriptions of others. The novel begins by Nick insisting that he was “inclined to reserve all judgments,” and then spends the remainder of the novel forming judgments of all the other characters. Tom is crude, Daisy is shallow, Jordan is dishonest,…

    • 392 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays