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Unreliable Narration In The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1509 words - 6 pages

Honor Council Signing Statement"I pledge my honor that I have completed this assignment in accordance with my teacher's instructions and the Upper School Honor Code."Signature:__________________________________________Laurel Button Mr. Tourais American Literature: G 6 December 2013The Individual's Authenticity: A Further Exploration of Boyle's "Unreliable Narration in The Great Gatsby"Perceived societal norms are interminably affecting personal action. The pressure to be smart, to be clever, to be rich-no wonder people so often lose sight of what of themselves is true and what is fabricated. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's acclaimed novel, The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway stands the paragon of a man too devoted to the opinions of others to be completely trusted. Thomas E. Boyle's critique of the book, "Unreliable Narration in The Great Gatsby," further corroborates this idea, noting time and time again Carraway's use of false or misrepresentative testimony regarding his own personality to easily win over the reader's opinion. To simply agree with someone is to take the path of least resistance; to like someone, to find him agreeable. Therefore, it can be assumed that to be liked is to have made life easy. However, when someone constantly tries too hard to be liked, he is no longer taking the path of least resistance. Now, he is out of breath, walking on eggshells, and lying through his teeth. He can in no way be relied upon for the truth. Carraway is undoubtedly an unreliable narrator due to his desire to be liked by everyone he encounters, along with his need to follow the path of least resistance. The ongoing convergence of these two fixations leads to incredible self-compromise and in this case, ultimately, Carraway's complete lack of reliability.Carraway's constant attempts to appear likeable in the eyes of every person clearly result in reservations towards Carraway's own character. Nick Carraway's need to appear objective, humble, and virtuous to both the reader and his fellows for the sake of likability begs a grain of salt for each word spewed out of his mouth and onto the page. Basically the first thing out of his mouth, Carraway stresses that, per the advice of his father when he was a child, he is "inclined to reserve all judgments" (Fitzgerald 1). This very statement detracts from Carraway's reliability from the start. In fact, not even a page later, Carraway disproves this claim, citing the "flabby impressionability" (Fitzgerald 2) of those around him: contradiction number one. Moreover, this instance is far from the sole inconsistency of Nick Carraway. Just another moment out of many, Carraway later watches from Gatsby's car as "driven by a white chauffeur… three modish negroes" (Fitzgerald 69) in a limousine roll by. Carraway laughs incredulously, implying that a direct relation between Black people and wealth is a thing of fantasy, a ridiculous semblance which could only occur in the uncivilized world outside his own. Additionally,...

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