To What Extent Is Nick a Reliable Narrator in the Great Gatsby

Topics: First-person narrative, Narrative, Unreliable narrator Pages: 3 (1096 words) Published: January 30, 2013
To what extend is the character Nick a reliable narrator in the book 'The Great Gatbsy'? Nick is a person with a number of contrasting allegiances within the book. For example he finds connections between himself and Gatsby, both serving in the War and that the both come from the ‘Mid-West’. However, Nick is also connected to the Buchannan’s: he is Daisy’s cousin, he comes from a wealthy background and he went to the same college as Tom Buchannan. Also, Nick says that his father told him to remember that “not everyone has had the advantages you’ve had” which tells us that Nick does not discriminate against people from other backgrounds and classes. All in all, these bits of personal information make the reader think of Nick as a well rounded, non-judgemental character. Nick also tells the reader that people tend to confide in him and that he was privy to secrets of “wild, unknown men”. The fact that these men are “unknown” suggests both that Nick is a very trustworthy man and therefore people who are “unknown” to him feel they can trust him, it also shows how Nick still refers to them as “unknown” men showing that he is indeed trustworthy and keeps their identity a secret. Not only is he trustworthy but he also informs us that he is not quick to judge and that he is inclined to “reserve all judgements”. The word “reserve” suggests that although at first he may not judge a person he keeps his opinions in waiting to use when they suit him, this shows the reader that although he may not be quick to judge he isn’t completely objective. As well as seeming to be less judgemental than most people he shows us, at the McKee’s party, he has the ability to refrain from affecting the natural course of events telling us that he was “within and without”. This is a metaphor representing his involvement in telling the story, when he is “within” he is the character and takes part in events but when he is “without” he becomes the narrator, thus showing the reader that he can stop...
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