Why is Nick Carraway Fascinated in Gatsby?

Essay by King646High School, 11th gradeA, April 2007

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Throughout "The Great Gatsby", written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, we witness Nick Carraway’s obsessive fascination of Gatsby. Nick states at the beginning of the novel that he is morally repelled by the vulgarity of all the characters he meets during his stay in New York, with the exception of Gatsby. Although Gatsby sometimes acts immorally like the characters around him, something sets him aside in Nick’s eyes. In fact, Nick explains, “Only Gatsby…was exempt from my reaction-Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn.”(p.2) Despite Gatsby being the embodiment of what Nick despises most, he finds Gatsby captivating because of his distinct behavior.

Part of what intrigues Nick is Gatsby’s mysterious character. Nick hears many wild rumors that circulate through Gatsby’s guests, such as, “Well, they say he’s a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm…I’m scared of him.” (p.32) One guest even claimed that “He was a German spy during the war.”

(p.44) Most of the other characters in the novel have a different opinion of Gatsby simply because they do not know his true background and unlike Nick, are not interested enough to discover his true personality. Most people that know of Gatsby base their knowledge largely on rumors; others simply judge Gatsby by his wealth, and most only care about his ostentatious parties. When Nick finally meets Gatsby, he is surprised when he learns that Gatsby does not drink and often distances himself from the rest of the chaotic party. As Nick’s friendship progresses with Gatsby, he becomes more interested in Gatsby’s unknown past.

Gatsby’s extraordinary ability to turn his dreams into a reality creates an endless potential, making Gatsby an even more interesting character. Gatsby’s great wealth and success also interests Nick, “It was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic...