The Great Gatsby Critical Analysis
|Type:||Critical Analysis Essay|
|Topics:||The Great Gatsby, 📗 Book|
The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald is an intriguing story representing far and wide themes of the society. The story is told by Nick Carraway as the main narrator taking the voice of Fitzgerald. At the time, Nick is telling the story from the filter of his memories. Nick is originally from Minnesota and moves to New York in the summer of 1922 to pursue his dream of becoming a salesman in bonds. Upon moving, he secures a house in West Egg district of Long Island a community described as unfashionable mainly occupied by the new rich group of people who have amassed their wealth in the recent times and do not have strong social connections. Nonetheless, Nick, in this case, is well connected socially as he is educated a graduate of the University of Yale. He describes himself as an honest young man stating that “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known” (171). The piece, therefore, pays close attention to the role of Nick and using various examples from the text try to show why Fitzgerald is indeed correct in selecting Nick as the narrator of the story besides his role as a character in the story.
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In his new dwellings he travels to meet his cousin Daisy who is married to Tom a brutish looking friend of his from the times in college. Here he learns many secrets of his cousin’s family. For instance, He learns that Tom was unfaithful and kept a mistress one Myrtle in an apartment he had rented for his actions. He also learns that Tom was abusive especially when he breaks the nose of Myrtle after she questions him regarding Daisy (Fitzgerald, 2014). It is at the same house that he meets Baker a young sophisticated woman whom they begin a romantic relationship. He becomes close to Gatsby who trusts him as a confidant revealing to him his secrets of being in live with Daisy. He becomes instrumental in connecting Daisy and Gatsby together which he does not like as he thinks he contributes to her being unfaithful to her husband. Gatsby himself tells Tom that “Your wife doesn’t love you. She’s never loved you. She loves me” (238). Later in the story, Nick witnesses the drama unfold when Daisy kills Myrtle out of jealousy and the revenge that her husband takes by killing Gatsby and following by killing himself. He is conflicted at the end of it all and organizes a small funeral to lay Gatsby to rest after which he proceeds to his hometown Minnesota to restart a life which he considers has the moral values of progressive lifestyle. To this end, Nick becomes the most ideal character to narrate the story as the piece highlights.
In chapter one, Nick describes himself as a quiet, open-minded listener who to this end becomes the ideal person for the rest of the characters to talk to easily. For instance, Gatsby invites Nick to the party where he does not feel very comfortable because he did not believe in the lifestyle and the morals of partying. Nonetheless, he remains calm and collected in the party to restate his calm and open-minded nature. His character attracts Gatsby to open up to him. He tells him of his love to Daisy and his intention of gathering wealth as a way to impress Daisy into falling in love with him (Neha, 2015). Additionally, Baker opens up to Nick on the reality of the marriage of his cousin Daisy that her husband was unfaithful to his wife. She also tells him that Tom was having an affair with Myrtle whereby Tom had rented an apartment to carry out his unfaithful activities with the mistresses. In this manner, therefore, Nick becomes the best-suited narrator to the story more so because of the manner he has a lot of information from all ends in the story. Additionally, he does not take an active role in the planning of the main activities that make up the account rather; he is more of the pathway of information before main happenings which gives him the clarity in narrating the events of the story.
In his work, Fitzgerald endeavored to bring out the concept of conflict as a major subject in the story. In an endeavor to present the same subject in higher clarity, Fitzgerald uses one of the characters in the story to bring out the element of conflict out clearly. For instance, when Nick moves to New York, he hopes to find a serene society led by good morals but is surprised by the rot in his new society (Neha, 2015). Activities of unfaithfulness from various characters gut him and he is even surprised by the manner that the people here do not seem to notice the issue. He is excited by the fast-lavish lifestyle of Gatsby, but after finding the source of Gatsby’s income, he finds the lifestyle grotesque and damaging to the morals of life. Further, the conflict is symbolized by Nick’s attraction to Jordan Baker whom he likes because of her sophistication and class. At the same time, he does not like her dishonesty and the manner she lacks consideration for others. He considers this society very rotten given these activities to which he states “They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn. “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together” (45). Having lived through these conflicts, Nick becomes the best narrator of the story as he tells these activities from his account of experience which increases the relativity to the reader.
The position that Nick takes of offering his reaction to activities rather than making the decisions makes him the ideal narrator as he also takes the position of the reader. For instance, Nick uncovers by himself the rot in the society whereby he pinpoints the rot in the American dream. Gatsby represents the American dream of having come from humble beginnings to become wealthy. Nonetheless, according to Nick, Gatsby remains empty and void of morals as many other characters in the story (Fitzgerald, 2014). To this end, he gains the position of the reader in understanding the story that the American dream has been washed off to reflect the pursuit of wealth without consideration of the important elements of a social society. Overall, Fitzgerald uses Nick as narrator mainly for his role in the story. His character is calm and gives him the opportunity to live and experience the life incidences of everyone. In this manner, he uses his experience to relay the story as he experienced it which makes him more thorough in relaying the story.
- Fitzgerald, F. (2014). The great Gatsby (4th ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
- Neha, N. (2015). Materialism And American Dream In F. Scott. Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby. International Journal Of Scientific Research, 2(8), 225-226. doi: 10.15373/22778179/aug2013/74
Offered for reference purposes only.