The Great Gatsby


English 11B


10/5/03


Topic B


In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic work, The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby, the dual heroes of the novel, each have very different personalities. Gatsby, the character who the plot focuses around will do whatever it takes to achieve his idealistic goal of being with Daisy. He is a stable character and keeps the same outlook and goals in mind from beginning to end. Nick, who narrates the novel, is a more unstable character, and changes by the end of the story. At first, he maintains a conservative, but nonjudgmental outlook. Towards the end of the novel, Nick’s growing admiration for Gatsby causes him to abandon his nonjudgmental outlook as he develops opinion’s about Gatsby and people who knew him.


One difference between Nick and Gatsby is that each them find love, but in different forms. Gatsby’s love for Daisy is an obsession. She has been all Gatsby has thought about for the last five years, and what motivated him to make all his money. In contrast, Nick “had no girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs,” (p.85) His love for Jordan Baker is more practical and relaxed. He likes her, but not enough that it directs his life. Nick is also able to see the flaws in Jordan such as her dishonesty and does not mind, as were Gatsby knows of Daisy’s flaws that accompany her wealth, and admits to that he is obsessed with a perfect image of Daisy rather than her, herself.


Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two is money. Gatsby has tons of it and thinks he can use it anything to buy love, as were Nick is poor but does not need money to have Jordan love him. He tries to win Daisy’s love with his money and is successful. However, when he offers Nick money in return for setting him up with Daisy, he is refused.


“‘Well this might interest you. It wouldn’t take up to much of your time and you might pick up a nice bit of money. It happens to be a rather confidential sort of thing.’


I realize now that under different circumstances that conversation might have been one of the crises of my life. But, because the offer was obviously and tactlessly for a service to be rendered, I had no choice except to cut him off there.” (88)


This is a good example of how Gatsby assumes money can buy anything and how Nick does not have nor want a lot of money.


Another difference between Nick and Gatsby is honesty. Gatsby will do anything to be with Daisy, regardless of whether it is honest or legal. Nick states that he is one of the few honest people he knows, and displays his honesty by turning down the illegal job that Gatsby offers him. Jordan Baker is another character who, like Gatsby will do anything to get what she wants, like cheating in the golf game.


A less obvious difference between the characters is that Nick’s disposition changes towards the end of the novel as were Gatsby is always the same. In the end he disregards his father’s advice that he had mentioned at the novel’s opening about judging people, and forms opinions about Gatsby and how he differs from the other rich people in the novel. “‘They’re a rotten crowd,’ I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together,’” (162). After know one comes to Gatsby’s funeral for legitimate reasons accept Gatsby’s father, he sees that none of Gatsby’s acquaintances in the east really knew or cared about him, and decides he moves back to the Midwest because he realized he was disgusted the people in the east, as he states in the opening chapter.


Nick learns to appreciate Gatsby in the end, and realizes that he is better than other rich people in the novel because he only made his money for love. Nick starts to opinionate himself at the same time he starts to appreciate Gatsby, suggesting that is was Gatsby motivated his change. Being opinionated he is not so different than Gatsby anymore.


Although Gatsby has an impact on Nick that changes his character, Gatsby is unchanged