I am a native Georgian with over 10 years experience in writing, publishing, and mentoring. Before becoming a English instructor and content creator, I earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Composition from Spelman College and later a master’s degree in Education with emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Phoenix.
Written and published in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby has become a literary classic enjoyed by readers of all ages. The story is narrated by Nick Carraway, and it takes place in two different parts of New York called East Egg and West Egg. One part of town is quiet and serene while the other boasts loud parties, loose women, gambling, and other raucous behavior.
Who is Nick Carraway?
Nick Carraway is a college graduate from the Midwest who has moved to New York to work in the bond business. He is a bit impressionable and naive, but his curious and observing nature helps him carefully weigh different situations. One of those situations has to do with his new neighbor, Jay Gatsby, and whether Nick should believe who Gatsby says he is or who others say he is.
The novel begins with Nick thinking back on advice that his father gave him as a boy. His father encouraged him to be careful about criticizing others and reminded him that he has had some advantages that others have not had. It may be that this advantage has something to do with social class and wealth, but this is never clearly addressed. However, the advice that Nick has pondered for years makes him study people, and we learn of the other characters and their behavior through his thoughtful observations. Nick interacts with each of the characters in a different way. He is the connector, the cousin, the confidant, and the friend.
Nick Carraway is the character that connects all of the other characters together. There are four main characters in this novel: Nick Carraway, Tom Buchanan, Daisy Buchanan, and Jay Gatsby. Nick and Tom knew each other in college, and Tom marries Daisy, who is Nick's cousin, twice removed. Jay Gatsby met and fell in love with Daisy when he was in the army, and he is the next-door neighbor to Nick.
These four characters are also connected by a lie about who really killed Myrtle Wilson (a woman that Tom Buchannan is having an affair with). Nick becomes involved when he begins to search for the truth about the incident.
Nick is the second cousin twice removed of Daisy Buchanan. Twice removed means that there are two generations between them. However, Daisy and Nick do not seem to be very far apart in age.
Many of the main characters confide in Nick - most notably Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. Tom is married to Daisy, and Gatsby is having an affair with Daisy. Both men are at odds with each other, and they find comfort and perhaps justification of their behavior in Nick's confidence.
Tom Buchanan introduces Nick to his mistress, Myrtle Wilson, a sassy vixen who is the total opposite of Daisy. He even takes Nick to his private apartment in the city where he throws wild parties. We see the events of the party through Nick's eyes, and although he says his father taught him not to be critical, we do get the feeling that the behavior of Tom and the party participants (Myrtle, her sister and her husband, and another couple) is a bit much for the conservative Nick Carraway.
Later in the novel, we learn that although the other characters confide in Nick, they are, in a sense, using him to relieve themselves of all that plagues their minds (adultery, unhappiness, and the search for unrequited love). After a chaotic gathering with Tom sporting around like the alpha male, Nick announces to everyone that he has just remembered that it is his birthday. Unfortunately, the other characters do not respond with celebratory cheers or rush down to the local bakery to purchase a cake for him. They simply sit quietly, stewing in their own problems. From this we learn that Nick is thoughtful of others, but their thoughts of him are only about what he can do for them. This also shows his passive, nonchalant demeanor. He doesn't insist that anyone pay attention to him or acknowledge his special day; instead, he once again observes the events of the day and sits quietly.
Although Jay Gatsby confides in Nick a great deal as well, Nick is more of a true friend to Gatsby. Throughout the novel, many people attempt to attach themselves to Gatsby because of who they think he is and what he appears to have. But Nick does not go by what others have told him concerning Gatsby and works diligently to get to know him. We see his friendship and his loyalty when he organizes a meeting between Gatsby and Daisy, the woman he is in love with.
After learning that Daisy is the one who really killed Myrtle Wilson in the car accident, Nick pleads with Gatsby to tell the truth instead of taking responsibility for a crime he did not commit. Nick's ultimate act of loyalty and friendship is seen when he sticks by Gatsby's side when others have deserted him. He buries Gatsby and still does not denounce his friendship, even when he learns who Jay Gatsby really is.
The Great Gatsby is a classic novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and published in 1925. It is set in New York during the age of prohibition, illegal gambling, and jazz music. Nick Carraway is the narrator and one of the main characters. He connects the other main characters together and also serves as a confidant and friend to them.
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