In The Great Gatsby, why does Nick take care of Gatsby's funeral in Chapter 9?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To me, there are at least two reasons why Nick would take care of Gatsby's funeral.

The first is because Nick is fundamentally a very decent man.  He may be the only decent person in the book.  He feels that Gatsby should have a funeral and there is no one else to take care of it.

Second, I think that Nick actually liked and respected Gatsby.  I think he felt that Gatsby was an honest person as well.  He felt that Gatsby had really tried his best to be a good person.

All in all, he wanted to take care of the funeral because that is what a decent person would do for someone they respect.

teachersage's profile pic

teachersage | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Since the accident in which Daisy ran over Myrtle, Nick has shown more interest in Gatsby than anyone else. In the prior chapter, he had avoided a meeting with Jordan but had tried several times to call Gatsby. In chapter nine, when Nick finds out Gatsby has been killed, he is the only person who goes to see him. At his house, he watches Gatsby's body and writes: "it grew upon me that I was responsible, because no one else was interested—interested, I mean, with that intense personal interest to which everyone has some vague right at the end."

Nick calls Daisy, but she and Tom have already left town. Nick also contacts Meyer Wolfsheim, but Meyer wants nothing to do with Gatsby at this point. Gatsby's father arrives, but Nick realizes he isn't capable of doing much. Nick has arranged the funeral for three o'clock the next day after Mr. Gatz arrives, and it goes on as Nick has planned it, even though it starts a bit late. Unfortunately, however, beyond "four or five" servants, only Nick, the Lutheran minister, Gatsby's father and Owl Eyes attend.

Nick has arranged the funeral because he is the only one interested in doing so. This reveals the "intense personal interest" Nick has in Gatsby and the extent to which he sees him and cares for him as a fellow human being in a way almost nobody else does. To others, Gatsby is simply an enigma who gives good parties. To Nick, however, he has "a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person," as Nick puts it at the beginning of the novel.


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