The Great Gatsby: Nick versus Gatsby


Mainframe computers analyze information and present it so that the
observer is able to make accurate observations. In The Great Gatsby, written
by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the narrator, Nick Carraway, tells a story in which Jay
Gatsby tries to attain happiness through wealth. Even though the novel is
titled after Gatsby, Nick, just as a mainframe computer, analyzes the actions of
others and presents the story so that the reader can comprehend the theme.
Throughout the novel, Nick is the vehicle used to gather all of the pieces
together to learn about Gatsby. Nick is a one of a kind in the novel. He also
is the only character that changes in the novel from the beginning to the end.
Nick is the literary device that is employed to learn about Gatsby, which
ultimately tells the theme of the story. Throughout the novel, flashbacks are
inserted, courtesy of Nick, to reveal piece by piece about the mysterious Gatsby.
Nick patches the pieces of the puzzle together regarding Gatsby\'s past and lack
of a future. Nick is like the box of a puzzle; the puzzle is impossible to put
together without it. Without Nick, the reader\'s opinion of Gatsby would be
drastically different. The reader\'s opinion would be swayed by the idea that
Gatsby becomes rich via bootlegging alcohol and counterfeiting bonds. Nick
persuades the observer that Gatsby is "…worth the whole damn bunch (rich class)
put together"(162). Even though Gatsby aspires to be part of the upper echelon,
he, fortunately, is different from them. Nick also analyzes Gatsby\'s behavior
in order to provide the reader with details and a summary of the great man. At
the end of the novel, Nick comments on Gatsby\'s life by stating that "(Gatsby)
had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close
that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already
behind him"(189). Without Nick, Gatsby\'s true colors would not be shown and
his behavior would be left not pondered. His presence from the beginning to the
end of the novel is imperative. Nick\'s uniqueness parallels his importance in
the novel.
Nick is very unique and different from all of the other characters in The
Great Gatsby. Most of the characters symbolize reckless people during the "rip
roaring twenties" that only want to be in the "fast lane" and do not give a damn
about others. Nick sticks out of this crowd like a "sore thumb".
Geographically, Nick was raised in the "friendly" middle-east, while the book
takes place in the "snobby" east. Tom, which is a representative of the rich,
casually has an affair with Mrytle while with Daisy. On the other hand, Nick
does not get involved with Jordan extensively because he has not broken
relations with his old girlfriend in Chicago. He promises himself that "there
(is) a vague understanding that (has) to be tactfully broken off before I (am)
free"(p64). As a result of Nick\'s and the other character\'s differing values,
he is considered an outsider. Only several times is Nick invited to rich
gatherings. When he is "partying" with the rich, he resents the fact that they
merely drink and gossip. Nick\'s uniqueness is probably best illustrated by
Gatsby\'s funeral. Even though Nick knew Gatsby the least amount of time of all
of his friends, he is one of the only participants at the funeral. Klipspringer,
one of Gatsby\'s friends, symbolizes the morals of the rich by stating that he
cares more about his own tennis shoes, than attending Gatsby\'s funeral. Another
one of Gatsby\'s "friends" cannot attend the funeral because he is "tied up in
some very important business and cannot get mixed up in this thing now"(174).
Nick is totally different than everyone else, which ultimately puts him in the
spotlight. Since he is exposed, it becomes obvious that his character changes.
Unlike any other character in the novel, Nick undergoes a change from the
beginning to the end. Even the "Great Gatsby" stays the same still believing he
will obtain Daisy and happiness with the acquisition of money. The society
accepts that Jordan, Nick\'s new girlfriend, cheats in golf and society even
accepts affairs-the ultimate dishonesty in relationships. At the beginning of
the story, Nick tries to become part of the rich society by accepting Jordan\'s
dishonesty. He rationalizes that "it made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a
women is a thing you never blame deeply—I was casually sorry, and then I
forgot"(p63). He also "chums" around with