Nick- likeable?

Essay by peaman1 December 2006

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Being liked is easy when gliding through life. Nick Carraway is deemed likeable, because he never reveals anything as to why one should not like him. Nick Carraway, through his passiveness, is likeable, but for all the wrong reasons.

A person's character is the number one factor in how much they are "liked" by other people. The audience finds out very early in the novel of Nick's major character flaw. "In consequence I'm inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores." (5) Although this trait can be beneficial to an extent, in Nick's case, it has become a burden. If Nick is in disagreement with a person, they will never change the situation because Nick does not vocalize his complaint. People will like him for this, but most likely he won't like them back.

Nick lifelessly drifts through life, never voicing his opinion and doing whatever it is that others did. Throughout the novel activities were suggested, either by Gatsby or Tom, and Nick always ended up following along, no matter how much he didn't want to. " 'Hold on,' I said. 'I have to leave you here.' 'No you don't,' interposed Tom quickly. 'Myrtle'll be hurt if you don't come up to the apartment.'" (32) And so ended the conversation between Nick and Tom, and on they went into the apartment. People will "like" him because he goes along, but this does not mean he is good company.

If a problem can be avoided in any way and not dealt with, Nick makes it a point to go in the opposite direction. His outlook is that confrontation is an unnecessary action and that sidestepping issues is the best solution. The following quotation took place after Tom broke Myrtle's nose. " Then Mr. Mckee turned and continued on out the door. Taking my hat from the chandelier, I followed." (42) The scene from which this excellent quotation was taken, shows not one, but two of Nick's character flaws. First he follows Mr. Mckee out of the apartment and agrees to a vague invitation by Mr. Mckee to lunch, and then the reader realizes that his reason for leaving was to avoid conflict between Tom and Myrtle!

Nick Carraway is reserved in judgment, passive in making decisions, and avoids confrontation at all costs. All of these traits are beneficial in moderation, however in Nick's case, they diminish his character. Because of these, he has become a likeable person, but in a way that is not desired. Nick Carraway is a do