Nick's Maturation In "The Great Gatsby"

605 words - 3 pages

Nick's maturation in "The Great Gatsby" is most prominently exemplified by his views on the value of money. His feelings towards the subject of materialism and prosperity in general undergo a subtle transformation throughout the novel, and it is through this mental development that we see Nick step into the threshold of a sagacious adulthood.We learn early on that Nick is in the bond business, and came to the East to pursue his career. He "bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities, and they stood on my [Nick's] shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew" (Fitzgerald 10). Nick is clearly ...view middle of the document...

With this mindset, Nick enters the world of the wealthy, and it is far from what he'd expected. A visit to the well-to-do Buchanans left Nick "confused and a little disgusted" (24). A meeting with Tom's mistress and her friends causes Nick to be "simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life" (37). An appearance at one of Gatsby's parties gives Nick the feeling that the 'upper class' is every bit as prodigal and graceless as he had hope them not to be.Towards the end of the novel, it is apparent that Nick has seen the destruction that wealth can wreck on humanity, and is wholly dismayed and disgruntled by his discovery. Nick describes the East as having always held "a quality of distortion…I [Nick] see it as a night scene by El Greco: a hundred houses, at once conventional and grotesque, crouching under a sullen, overhanging sky and a lusterless moon" (167). He feels that although the East is a 'promise land', the things the East has to offer are often gained at too great a cost.The summer of '22 very likely did more to age and mature Nick than 5 years in the West combined. Nick learned some very important things during his stay in the East, one of them being the value of wealth, social standing, and the rest of the superficial qualities we have come to associate with the 'upper-class'. Nick turned from an eager youth hoping to strike-it-rich to a judicious man who as seen down the path which the pursuit of prosperity will take you. I believe, and evidently Fitzgerald as well, that Nick did the "mature" thing to do, which was to distance oneself from such horrors so that the 'prosperity' of the East will not consume yet another soul.

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