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Discuss Nick Carraway's character. How reliable is he as a narrator? What aspects of...

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rachelseale | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 27, 2010 at 9:15 AM via web

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Discuss Nick Carraway's character. How reliable is he as a narrator? What aspects of his character make him an effective narrator?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 27, 2010 at 10:15 AM (Answer #1)

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  • Nick is an unreliable narrator because he falls for Gatsby's desires instead of his own.
  • retells the story from home
  • uses the opportunity to construct himself
  • contradictions make him an unfocused lens
  • claims objectivity but uses judgmental lang
  • distances himself as dispassionate observer (ch. 1)
  • then virtually equates himself with Gatsby (ch. 2)

 

  • Gatsby's desires are focused, specific = Daisy
  • Nick is working through Gatsby's desires, not his own
  • For Nick, relationships are too much trouble -- curb fantasies, resist all strong connections

 

  • Nick's vulnerability
  • always falls for Gatsby's lies, Gatsby's smile, Daisy's voice
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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 27, 2010 at 9:29 AM (Answer #2)

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To me, Nick Carraway is the most attractive character in the book.  This is because he seems honest, relatively moral, and less shallow than the other people in the book.

I think that these attributes make him a good narrator.  He can see the faults and strengths of pretty much everyone in the book.  He is not really judgemental, but he sees the people for what they are.  If he were less honest, or if he were shallow, he would either be unable to see what the people were like or he would judge them based on whether he liked them.

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