Narrator Nick Of The Great Gatsby

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade November 2001

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Narrator Nick Nick Carraway has a special place in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby. He is not just one character among several; it is through his eyes and ears that we form our opinions of the other characters. Fitzgerald shows Jay Gatsby's figurative death as a greater tragedy than his physical demise through his depiction of Nick's attitude toward the two events.

Gatsby only lives his life to acquire enough wealth to impress Daisy Buchanan and in turn win her love over Tom's. Nick reveals Gatsby's figurative death when Daisy says to Gatsby that she "did love [Tom] once "“ but I loved you too." These words "seem to bite physically into Gatsby" and he "looked as if he had killed a man" (140 - 41). Nick describes Gatsby's death: "only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undespairingly" (142).

Gatsby's "incorruptible dream" of winning Daisy's love is over and now the world is seen through depressed, unromantic eyes. Nick loses his loyalty, "I disliked him so much by this time" (151), and admiration toward Gatsby, "he was clutching at some last hope," (155) after the argument between Tom and Daisy.

At Gatsby's literal death, it is barely described and reflected on as if it was repetitious and not important. Nick's remaining admiration for Gatsby allows him to illustrate his murder gracefully, a fair contrast to Myrtle's. Gatsby's death is described as "a faint, barely perceptible movement of water as the fresh flow from one end urged it's way toward the drain at the other"¦ the touch of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, tracing, like the leg of a compass, a thin red circle in the water" (170). Already in this scene Gatsby feels as if "he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living to long with a single dream" (169), this contributes to Nick's portrayal of Gatsby's preceding and far more tragic death.

Fitzgerald's representaion of the destruction of the ultimate American idealist is shown through his use of an active, biased participant to narrate the story rather than an "all-knowing" narrator that would be unable to give their perspective.