In his much-admired novel, entitled The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald provides us with a variety of characters, themes, motifs, and symbols that all together chronicle an era that Fitzgerald himself refers to as the Jazz Age. One of the keystones or main characters of the novel, however, that he uses to explore this era, particularly its flaws, is Nick Carraway, our guide or the narrator in The Great Gatsby.Through his employment of a partially involved narrator, we don't only gain insight into his perspective and standpoint, but become all the more associated with the somewhat unachievable lifelong dream of Jay Gatsby, another essential character in the novel that very much depicts the decay in the American dream.
This is particularly due to Carraway's nature/personality, which explains why Fitzgerald uses him as his narrator in The Great Gatsby. One of Nick's most admirable qualities that label him as a logical choice as narrator is his aim or determination to always be objective, or free of bias, established early in the novel.In assuring and proving to the reader that "[he is] inclined to reserve all judgments", which we see particularly in the scene in which Tom informs him on a white-supremacist book called "The Rise of the Colored Empires", in the first chapter of the novel, his trustworthiness becomes apparent (7). This trustworthiness and tolerance is all the more more emphasized on through, not only his turning of 30, a sign of maturity, but his relationship or view of Gatsby, who he admits "represented everything for which [he had] an unaffected scorn".
Behind all the crime and deceit associated with Gatsby, he's able to see past that and recognize the purity of his dream/motive - Daisy's love, which allows us, the readers, to sympathize with him. As a result, as the reader, we're capable of not only depending on Nick, but trusting him. Another example of a reason why Fitzgerald uses Nick as his narrator of The Great Gatsby is due his ability to accurately observe, which he does continuously throughout the novel.To begin with, in addition to being fairly tolerant, truthful, and honest, made evident in the previous paragraph, he succeeds in finding a perfect balance in taking part in the story, managing to be somewhat involved in what's happening, yet maintaining his position as a detached observer.
It's through these/his observations that we're able to understand the nature of each character in the story. For example, through his narration, we don't only become acquainted with Tom Buchanan's arrogance, as well as how physically imposing he is, but learn that he's a bully with "a body capable of enormous leverage-a cruel body" (12).This particularly reflects on both his harsh attitude and shallowness, which is seen especially in his relationship with Myrtle Wilson. We get an even better glimpse of Nick's excellent observation skills in his first close inspection of Gatsby, admitting that "he had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life".
This mere description of Gatsby already informs /acquaints the reader with the character's charisma, reflecting on how effective Nick's first person viewpoint is.However, Nick's ability to accurately observe, doesn't only relate his knack of effectively describing characters; it also relates to his ability to form descriptions that, in turn, draw attention to a variety of themes, symbols, and motifs in the novel. For instance, in describing Gatsby's view of the green light, or "the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us", we become aware of the importance of the past to dreams of the future, particularly in Gatsby (171).A final admirable central quality that qualifies Nick as an ideal narrator, as well as justifies Fitgerald reason to use him as our guide in The Great Gatsby is his tendency to be reflective.
Nick's thoughtfulness is made evident in nearly every single page in the novel, beginning with page one. To begin with, the fact that the story, in general, is a reflection what happened two years ago, already reveals Nick's ability to reflect.In addition, he thoughtfully organizes all the information provided to him by other characters in the novel, purposefully creating a mysterious atmosphere, increasing the reader's eagerness in the delayed introduction of Gatsby. For example, in the first chapter he reveals the green light to us, and although we're not yet familiar with its significance at that point in time, we become all the more intrigued and interested, reflecting on the power of Nick's thoughtful narration.However, at the same time, at some points in the story, he uses other characters to inform us on certain happenings, due to the fact that although he's close to practically all the characters in the novel, which is another advantage that Nick has, allowing them to confide in him and trust him, he wasn't always there to observe everything that took place, which explains why he ends up relying on Michaelis' account of the accident towards the end of the novel, for instance.
Nevertheless, all these examples of Nick's thoughtfulness are minute compared to the thoughtfulness seen in his comparison of Gatsby and the pursuit of his unachievable lifelong dream to the American dream. He makes this link very much apparent towards the end of the novel, where the possibility of fulfilling a dream simply if you try - the American dream - is questioned, due to the fact that such characters as Gatsby were unsuccessful, mainly because of the ways in which they went or go about it. In fact, it's the same dream that kills him in the end, making the attempt of duplicating one's past seem all the more impossible.In conclusion, regardless Fitzgerald's purposely added imperfections and limitations to Nick, it's becomes quite evident, particularly towards the end of the The Great Gatsby, that Nick Carraway is essentially a version of Fitzgerald's ideal self-image. This is made all the more clear in Nick's decision, unlike Fitzgerald in real life, to move back, in this case, Minnesota.
Nevertheless, at this point, it's also apparent that Nick was beyond a logical choice as narrator in the novel, due to a variety of reasons, which were all covered in the paper.