How Does Fitzgerald Present the Character of Nick Caraway as a Narrator and Character

Topics: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby Pages: 3 (1222 words) Published: December 13, 2010
In The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald presents a specific portrait of American society during the roaring twenties and tells the story of a man who rises from the gutter to great riches. This man, Jay Gatsby, does not realize that his new wealth cannot give him the privileges of class and status. Nick Carraway who is from a prominent mid-western family tells the story. Nick presents himself as a reliable narrator, when actually several events in the novel prove he is an unreliable narrator. Although Nick Carraway may be an unreliable narrator, he is the best narrator for the novel because he creates the correct effect. 

            Nick Carraway wants the reader to think his upbringing gave him the moral character to observe others and not pass judgment on them. If this were true he would be a reliable narrator. A hint to Nick's true moral character is given on the first page of the novel when he misunderstands his father's advice. His father said, "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages you've had." Clearly his father was telling him of the importance of not criticizing others, but Nick interprets this as a judgment on others . This shows how Nick's upbringing has actually made him a judgmental snob toward others. He is not partial; he judges and condemns nearly every character in the novel. He says Tom Buchanan has "Straw hair, a hard mouth, a supercilious manner, and a cruel body with which he pushes people around." Daisy Buchanan is described as insincere and snobbishly thinks she "has been everywhere, and seen everything and done everything." Myrtle Wilson is said to "carry her excess flesh sensuously. " and the rest of her friends and even her sister, are judged by Nick simply because they consort with Myrtle, who Nick holds in very low regard. These are but a few examples of the judgments Nick passes about the characters in this novel. When Nick does this to the other...
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