In The Great Gatsby, what teachable character traits does Nick Carraway possess?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Nick is a great representative of someone who is relevant even though he might not be the most relevant in a social context.  On some level, all individuals have either been this or known someone who represents this.  Nick is not going to be the center of the party, the driving force of attention.  He will not captivate a room like a Jordan nor will he have the brashness of a Tom.  He will not have the wealth of a Gatsby.  He is a regular person, and through his eyes, the reader fully understands the social situation that envelops all of the characters in Fitzgerald’s narrative.  One of his traits that is present throughout the novel is his perception of the world and those around him.  This aspect of his consciousness shows reflection and thoughtfulness, and while Nick might not be the most honest of narrators, he is the voice that the reader must cling to in order to better understand the people of this social setting, one that might be far removed from that of the reader.  In a larger sense, Nick represents the vast majority of people who are not going to be the center of all attention.  For all people who are the “belle of the ball” or the “life of the party,” there are much more who are not.  There are many more people who are a part of the crowd, as opposed to being distinct of it. Nick is one of these individuals, and yet, through his narration, and his guiding, we begin to understand that he is much more than an anonymous face.  This helps to prove that while social contexts might malign and isolate someone, they do have a voice and have distinction to them that makes them unique and able to be the “center” of someone’s attention.

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