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The Great Gatsby : Nick Carraway’s Perception

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 08:11 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.4 
  • Words: 1200
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Every character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, holds significant symbolic meaning, but none support the theme of Easterners compared to Westerners as wholly as Nick Carraway.   In an impartial manner, Nick narrates and states his opinion on the events in the novel.   Nick’s upbringing and simplistic way of thinking juxtapose with the debauchery of the East.   Fitzgerald uses the opinions and actions of Nick to present the belief that people from the Western part of the United States live with simple, moral virtues while those from the East operate with corruption and shallowness.

Nick’s first important remarks come from his introduction to the novel and his background information.   Nick’s father always told him as a child to “reserve all judgments” (Fitzgerald 5).   Nick also describes his family as “prominent, well-to-do people” (7) from the Middle-West.   Right from the beginning, Fitzgerald uses Nick to instill in the reader a positive perception of people from the West by associating Nick with family-orientated morals.   Nick also states in his opening remarks that, while in the East, he experiences many “riotous excursions” (6) and wishes the world exist in a “moral attention” (6).   Nick desires to return to the West after spending only a summer in the East because he cannot conform to the lack of a moral center he adapted to in the West.   Fitzgerald intentionally conveys to the reader this perception of the West compared to the East in the beginning of the novel in order for the reader to immediately recognize Fitzgerald’s theme and how he will utilize Nick as a medium for this view.   Through the words of Nick\'s narration, the reader comes to realize the perfunctory, self-absorbed, often callous nature of the Easterners.   The reader\'s empathy for Nick reinforces the believability of Fitzgerald\'s view.  

Fitzgerald also uses Nick’s impartial narrations to heighten the reader’s awareness of the shallowness and immorality of the...

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