January 23rd, 2019
The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a novel set in America’s “Roaring Twenties” that details the fictional experiences of one Nick Carraway as he fruitlessly attempts to find fortune in eastern America. Fitzgerald uses Nick to serve as the narrator of the recounting as well as the moral anchor of the audience. Throughout the novel Nick Carraway displays traits of naivete, curiosity, and dishonesty when faced with the radical change in behavior in the East.
First, Nick Carraway displays an alarming amount of tolerance for visibly untrustworthy people. During the course of the book Nick’s acquaintances indulge frequently in undeniably immoral deeds, all while Nick himself is roped into them.
An example of this would be Nick’s complacency in Tom Buchanan’s affair with `Myrtle Wilson. All throughout The Great Gatsby, Tom pressures Nick into keeping his forbidden relationship private. “Tom’s got some women in New York” (Fitzgerald 15), and Nick begrudgingly keeps it a secret. In addition to Nick’s covering-up of infidelity, he also continues a relationship with Jordan Baker, a professional golfer infamous for cheating her way to success. Despite his suspicions of Jordan’s morality, as well as a third-party confirmation of her habits, Nick still offers her his company. To erase any doubt of innocence, Daisy informs Nick of Jordan’s wrongdoings, reporting that, “At her first big golf tournament … she moved her ball from a bad line in the semi-final round” (Fitzgerald 57). Finally, Nick is also not only complacent in the affair between Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby, but he also partially orchestrates the relationship. This is the result of Jay Gatsby’s manipulation of Nick in order to get closer to Daisy. Despite this, Nick still stays silent on the subject when given numerous chances to reveal the truth, such as when he “called Daisy from the office next morning, and invited her to tea. ‘Don’t bring Tom’, I warned her” (Fitzgerald 83). Nick’s pining for sticking close to familiar faces in this strange new world inadvertently cause him more harm than good.
Furthermore, Nick Carraway’s lack of exposure to the wiles of the East before the events of The Great Gatsby lead him to be enthralled by what he sees. This wonder is seen clearly in Nick’s visit to Myrtle Wilson’s sister, Catherine, in East Egg. Throughout the entire ordeal, he is bombarded with an up-front view of life in the East, which leaves him both tired and pining for more exposure. Nick summarizes his experience that evening as being “within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life” (Fitzgerald 35). Nick’s interest in the affairs of the East can also be seen in his observation of Gatsby’s lavish parties. While the concept of throwing parties to flaunt wealth is not new to him, to see such a thing done so magnanimously and so frequently is, to Nick, a spectacle....