The Great Gatsby: Evidence of Insecurity and Ambiguity that Question Nick Carraway's Heterosexuality

Essay by john_a_castroUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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The Great Gatsby is a magnificently written story about the loss of love, the problems of American wealth, and the reality of life. With these themes in mind, it is important to remember that in our complex reality, not all men are only sexually attracted to women as some would commonly assume. The character of Nick Carraway in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby can be characterized as sexually ambiguous and emotionally insecure. On the one hand, Nick Carraway is a person who came from an upper middle class family and is attracted to Jordan Baker, and on the other hand, he demonstrates a sexual attraction toward Jay Gatsby that is hidden due to his strict upbringing as a child. Added to this, he portrays himself as a bit feminine, all of which bring his heterosexuality into question. The following analysis will be an in-depth investigation into the character of Nick Carraway to determine if his emotional insecurity and sexual ambiguity are a result of his homosexual desires toward Jay Gatsby.

Nick Carraway had an emotionally harsh childhood. His disciplining father, strict and rigid, cautioned him over the years to avoid impulsiveness, which led Nick to carefully guard but secretly indulge in "feminine" tendencies. Nick Carraway confirms this theory when he stated, "I am full of rules that act as brakes on my desires" (Fitzgerald 63-64), which were instilled by his father. These brakes that Nick speaks of prevent him from taking action on his homosexual inclinations.

Nick imaginatively envisions escaping to a another kind of masculinity altogether, one that can suit his "feminine" emotions and occasional attraction to men. For example, when Nick privately confessed to Jordan Baker, "I must have felt pretty weird by that time because I could think of nothing except the luminosity of [Gatsby's] pink...