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The Great Gatsby Character Analysis

925 words - 4 pages

Throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work The Great Gatsby, Nick Caraway undergoes a large transformation. His character arc demonstrates the negative effects of being part of a rich and privileged society, and that even though the 1920’s era looks beautiful and fun, a great many of its inhabitants were empty. Nick Caraway starts the novel hopeful, but as he is exposed to the amoral culture of the rich socialites and businessmen, he becomes cynical, bitter, and he abandons his habits of honesty, and reserving judgment.
After his time in the army during World War I, Nick Caraway refuses to return to the kind of boring life he thinks he would find back home. He consequently migrates East. As he moves near New York City, at the beginning of the novel, he says, “Life was beginning over again with the summer,” (4). This sentiment displays his general attitude toward his new life at West Egg. He considers it full of hope, and this positive feeling does not start to fade until his first interaction with Tom and Daisy Buchanan. After their dinner party he feels “confused and a little disgusted,” (20). He had just found out that Tom was having an affair, and that Daisy had a uniquely complacent attitude about it. He sensed a general falseness about the whole night that he found very unsettling. Soon after, Tom takes Nick to meet Myrtle, Tom’s his mistress. It is then Nick’s responsibility to keep the secret of Tom’s affair, making him complicit. Nick never even considers telling Daisy who Myrtle is, or trying to get Tom to stop his adultery. Later, Nick plays a very large role in starting an affair with Gatsby and Daisy. He allows them to use his house to meet, knowing that Gatsby loves Daisy, and she is a married woman. Nick doesn’t just keep the secret; he is a willing participant in bringing them together. These are highly questionable actions from Nick, and these events are a big part of his metamorphosis into a disillusioned and slightly unethical individual.
Initially Nick has respect for Jordan, when they first meet he even seems a bit scared of her, displayed by his repeated apologies in her presence. This respect slowly develops into love, but he doesn’t act on these feelings. Just as Nick struggles with justifying the fun but empty lifestyle he finds in New York, he struggles with loving Jordan despite her carelessness. At the point in the story where Jordan says, “I hate careless people. That’s why I like you,” (58), Nick is willing to overlook her dishonestly because he sees a bit of his affection reciprocated. He suppresses the thoughts of her flaws, but only temporarily, and...

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