The Great Gatsby

Essay by hoellwarthHigh School, 12th grade January 2008

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, is an arduous book to interpret particularly because of the style in which it is written. Readers must differentiate between the separate views of Nick Carraway as the narrator and Nick as a character, but without him, the story would lack balance and insight. Nick is both a shrewd and tolerant man who greatly represents the only sense of morality in the novel. His moral sense helps to set him apart from all the other characters. Not only is the beginning of the first chapter primarily dedicated to establish his personality, but it also serves a purpose as to inform readers of Nick’s ability to pass judgment on a morally wrong and corrupt world, this due to his ethical Midwestern upbringing. He makes it clear to readers that his ability to be nonjudgmental, such tolerance, “has a limit.” He establishes his credibility in telling the story about a great man named Jay Gatsby.

Although Nick’s attitude of ambivalence, at the onset of the novel, moves to contempt for Gatsby during the novel, his attitude ends with an attitude of faith in Gatsby.

Nick’s attitude is, from the first, ambivalent, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by where he is and whom he is with. Readers make notice of Nick’s strongly mixed reactions to life on the East Coast; one that creates a powerful inner conflict that he does not solve until the end of the book. On one hand, Nick is attracted to the fun-driven, “racy and adventurous feel” of New York. On the other hand, he finds that the lifestyle is grotesque, damaging and disgusting. This inner conflict is symbolized throughout the book by his affair with Jordan Baker. He is attracted to and enchanted by her vivacity and sophistication just as he is...