The Great Gatsby: Symbols of Honesty and Dishonesty within its Characters
The 1920’s are known as the Roaring Twenties where there was economical prosperity and moral decline. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby displays many symbols throughout the text of this moral decline, one being honesty versus dishonesty, these symbols are represented within the characters Jordan Baker and Nick Carraway. Jordan Baker is a symbol of dishonesty and vice versa so is Nick Carraway but rather for honesty. Nick’s truthfulness is evident, as it has been instilled within him since early childhood. Jordan’s untruthful actions appear to be instilled within her from early childhood but as a method to protect herself. In short, Carraway and Baker’s perspective on honesty is influenced by their early exposure and current environments that define their characters as symbols of dishonesty and honesty.
From the beginning of the novel, Fitzgerald introduces us into Nick’s character at an early age. The readers are presented with Nick’s father molding his son’s character and moral values of honesty. He tells his son, “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, “he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had” (1), indicating that his father is telling him not everyone is born with the same privileges. Then Nick goes on to tell the reader, “I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me…” (1), telling us that he would not judge harshly at first impression and that his word is truthful and straightforward. Furthermore, Nick states that he wants others to be as honest as he is such as when Nick was conversing with Gatsby, “I don’t like mysteries,” I answered, “and I don’t understand why you won’t come out frankly and tell me what you want. Why has it all got come through Miss Baker?” (71), expanding on the fact Nick wants not only his honesty carried out in his own daily life but...
Cited: Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925. Print
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