The Roles Minor Characters Have in Literature

Powerful Essays
The success of literary works depends greatly on the quality of its characters, which is why it is essential to have characters, both major and minor, with distinct and contrasting personalities. Not only are minor characters used as foils for the major characters by emphasizing their important character traits, but in many cases they furthermore play a crucial role in the advancement of the plot. In the three novels that were examined this year, The Great Gatsby, The Kite Runner, and The Handmaids Tale, the minor character had a pivotal role in the development of the plot. In The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway is not only the narrator but he is the image of order in a society of disorder. In The Kite Runner, Rahim Khan is the moral center and acts as the voice of reason. Lastly in The Handmaids Tale, Moira is the paradigm of rebellion but also proves that there is hope in challenging circumstances. In much the same way that minor characters advance the plot, provide conflict, or act as a character foil, every individual being has minor characters in their own life that have a very similar influence on their existence. By examining the impact minor characters have in the three works of literature, The Great Gatsby, The Kite Runner, and The Handmaids Tale, I will be able to relate these characters to individuals in my life that have a similar effect on me.
Nick Carraway from the novel The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, functions as both the foil and protagonist, as well as the narrator. A young man from Minnesota, Nick travels to the West Egg in New York where he lives next door to Jay Gatsby, a wealthy young man whom little is known about. Nick is slowly drawn into the lives of the rich socialites of the East and West Egg and the relationships between Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom, and others. Besides Nick’s role as the narrator, he is able to function as the foil for many of the characters including Gatsby himself. For instance, Gatsby is dreamy and

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald strategically begins the novel by giving us insight into the narrator, Nick Carraway. After reading the first two chapters the reader has a good understanding of Nick Carraway and what his values are. The reader feels a connection to Nick, whose character is a stark contrast compared to the other characters introduced in the story. The characters in this story, specifically from East Egg, can be compared and contrasted to those from Camelot in our previous reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.…

    • 480 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Nick Carraway serves the important roles of narrator and arguably the main character of The Great Gatsby, as he judges the actions of other characters while still playing his own role within the plot. Also, as Nick analyzes the actions of others, he attempts to make judgements using his “cardinal virtues” of honesty and fact. He does so while keeping in mind his father’s advice of thinking before criticizing others, as many “haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” Throughout The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway maintains a prominent sense of objectivity throughout his role as the narrator, such as is present in his analysis of Jordan Baker’s personality, in his interpretation of Gatsby’s story, and in his acceptance of Tom Buchanan’s affair.…

    • 867 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby, the narrator Nick Carraway's loss of innocence and growing awareness is one of the significant themes. Nick moves to West Egg, Long Island, an affluent suburb of New York City, where millionaires and powerbrokers dominate the landscape, from his simple, idyllic Midwestern home. In his new home, he meets Jay Gatsby, the main character in the novel. Throughout the novel, Nick's involvement in Gatsby's affairs causes him to gradually lose his innocence and he eventually becomes a mature person. By learning about Gatsby's past and getting to know how Gatsby faces the past and the present, Nick finds out about the futility of escaping from the reality. Nick also learns how wealth can corrupt when he meets the upper class people. Nick is aware of Gatsby's pursuit of the American Dream and the destruction that the dream has brought Gatsby. In The Great Gatsby, Nick's loss of innocence and growing awareness is demonstrated through Nick's realization of how the upper class people are, his recognition of Gatsby's failure in facing reality, and the destruction that the pursuit of the American Dream has brought Gatsby.…

    • 1456 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    F. Scott Fitzgerald

    • 344 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald's most renowned book, and still one of the most read novels in American literature. A book with this much success was obviously was a product of great influence. The Great Gatsby draws many extensive parallels between F. Scott Fitzgerald's life and this novel. These similarities range from basing characters off important people from his personal life to interweaving intricate love relationships he went through into the novel to recreating the American Dream. The book comes as a direct result of many of the events in Fitzgerald's early life.First off, are the most noticeable parallels, the character he chooses. Fitzgerald parallels himself in two of the main characters in The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby, and Nick Carraway. Nick represents Fitzgerald's passive, or indecisive, and observant characteristics. On the other hand, Gatsby shows Fitzgerald's passionate and active attributes.…

    • 344 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Nick Carraway is a credible author of the Great Gatsby as he demonstrates his intellectual abilities by being a graduate of Yale, he is a courteous man as he is very polite to Tom Buchanan when he meets him at his home, even as Tom is casually racist and bigoted, and he is a blunt man as he describes himself as being “one of the few honest people that I have ever known” (3.170)…

    • 491 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    'The Great Gatsby' is a novel that takes place during the roaring twenties, or an era otherwise known as the Jazz Age. A time of prohibition and experimentation, the novel portrays both the chaos and loss of morals that many during that time experienced. In 'The Great Gatsby' Fitzgerald opted for a complex structure and a controlled narrative point of view, thus giving the novel a greater air of realism, written in a limited first person perspective, with Nick Carraway serving as the narrator and the only true voice. This deliberate inclusion forces the reader to experience the events in the novel, first hand, in addition to this, Nick is careful not to tell the reader things he himself does not know, this is one of the reasons that the novel is so convincing, Nick seems to be the only rational person, and he is the one relaying the events to us. Although Nick makes a connection with all the major characters throughout the novel,…

    • 5410 Words
    • 14 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Great Gatsby Rough Draft

    • 936 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Nick Carraway believes in the American ideal of a self made man. But this principle stands in harsh contrast with the crime and violence he find in the East. The main link to the world of crime in the novel is Gatsby. Though Gatsby has a noble dream, to become successful to win his true love, we see him fall prey to the temptations of easy money. Nick is disgusted by the means with which Gatsby has tried to reach his dream, "Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men". Gatsby’s dream is eventually snuffed out when Daisy refuses to leave Tom. The death of Gatsby’s dream is symbolic for the death of the American dream. Gatsby illustrates how the American dream has become filled with the temptations of crime and easy money. Gatsby’s honorable intentions soon become warped by this corrupted American dream as he gains his riches through bootlegging. Once Nick learns that all of Gatsby’s wealth is attained through…

    • 936 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Fitzgerald tells the story of chapter one in The Great Gatsby by introducing ‘Nick Carraway’ as the first person narrative, telling the story in the past tense. The first chapter of the book make the readers have an instant realisation that it is a ‘novel writing about a novel’ as the narrator says “Only Gatsby, the man who gave his name to this book”. This suggests that Nick is very self-conscious about the fact that he is writing this book. Fitzgerald establishes Nick to be an almost invisible character that sees everything but is “Inclined to reserve all judgements”. But later in the chapter, after Nick has given his self-evaluation, Fitzgerald creates irony from Nick saying after “a sense of fundamental decencies is parcelled out at birth”. This contradiction makes the readers think that Nick is a unreliable narrator.…

    • 766 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald seemingly establishes an honest and reliable narrator named Nick Carraway at the beginning of the novel. In the opening chapter, Nick is presented as a loyal man with high morals. Fitzgerald wants us to see Nick as a reliable person whose moral judgment the readers can trust. If we can trust the narrator, then we believe in the story.…

    • 487 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Nick Carraway is the narrator of the Great Gatsby. He decides to go to the east to pursue a new job of being a broker. The book starts off with Nick recalling is father’s words “"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one...just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." (Ch. 1). The quote explains that all people are different and not all are lucky enough to be fortunate from an earlier age. His father’s words represent an introduction to the main character of Jay Gatsby who created a new name for him. Gatsby made a new person of himself to show off to his past love named Daisy. Daisy ends up being Gatsby’s American Dream and we learn that the Dream is elusive and cannot be grasped just like Gatsby cannot grasp onto Daisy. Fitzgerald portrays the problem of the fall of the dream through the character of Daisy and Gatsby.…

    • 776 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Chapter One: The narrator of The Great Gatsby is a man from Minnesota named Nick Carraway. He starts off the story by stating that he learned from his father to not judge other people because he could make the mistake of misunderstanding someone. Nick characterizes himself as highly moral and highly tolerant. He briefly mentions Gatsby. In the summer of 1922, Nick moved to New York to work in the bond business. He rented a house on a part of Long Island called West Egg. The West Egg is home to those who have recently become come rich while the East Egg is conservative and snotty. Nick lives right next door to Gatsby’s mansion. Nick graduated from Yale and has many connections on East Egg. One Night Nick drives…

    • 2943 Words
    • 12 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the character of Nick Carraway has a green personality. Nick is analytical and calm. That is shown in his reactions to some of the most dramatic parts of the book.…

    • 598 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Traditionally the narrator is usually outside of the story, but in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway (the narrator) is much more than that. Nick in this novel is an active member of the story, being only second in importance to the main character Jay Gatsby. This novel takes a very different approach in its development of the characters. Having the narrator change more than any of the other characters, this thesis will explain Fitzgerald’s unusual development of the characters and their greater significance through the novel. For although we would expect a certain, standard technique in telling a story, Fitzgerald uses a much different method.…

    • 1337 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Nick Carraway is the narrator for The Great Gatsby for an array of reasons. Nick is the cousin of Daisy and the neighbour of Gatsby and, it could be said that, for these reasons alone, Nick is the perfect choice to narrate the novel due to his relationship with both of these characters. However, Nick also attempts to give the reader an unbiased opinion of the characters and the events as they unfold. Fitzgerald makes Carraway his own person and not just a character speaking the words and feelings of the author, the reader can feel that they are reading Carraway’s views and not Fitzgerald’s.…

    • 1077 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    At first glance, “Jay Gatsby is seen to be a wealthy man who throws enormous parties”(Fitzgerald back of book). Nick, the narrator of the text, talks more about his relationship with Gatsby, than anyone else, hinting that he is a more significant character than the rest. Throughout the text, the other characters eventually see Gatsby’s selfishness, and obligations for his future. Nick Carraway, Gatsby’s neighbor, and friend, tries to guide the viewers and himself to understand how Gatsby is connected to Daisy, Nick’s sister, how he made so much money, and furthermore; who he really is. Despite the narrator of this text being Nick, Gatsby is whom the text ultimately…

    • 662 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays