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What qualities do Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby and Scout Finch in To Kill a...

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jaimone | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 29, 2010 at 12:36 AM via web

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What qualities do Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby and Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird share in their roles as narrators?

What purpose do these similiar characteristics serve in the two novels? I have concluded they are both intelligent but naive and have strong senses about morals.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 29, 2010 at 12:55 AM (Answer #1)

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Both Nick Carraway of The Great Gatsby and Scout Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird are narrators who share some commonalities:

  • Both tell the narrative in hindsight, thus interpreting what has already occurred.  Their maturity brings an understanding to the telling of the narrative.
  • The reader is able to relate to both narrators as their clearly possess human foibles.
  • There is a naivete to both narrators--Scout as the child narrator, Nick as the Midwesterner with no experience of the jaded rich of East Egg.
  • Both narrators arrive at an understanding at the end of the novels which they have not previously had.
  • Both voices of Nick and Scout showcase the heroic qualities of the main characters, Jay Gatsby and Atticus Finch.
  • Both have been involved in the original action, and are, therefore, somewhat unreliable narrators since they are not objective narrators in the third person.  For instance, although Nick is well aware of Gatsby's idiosyncrasies, he chooses to admire him anyway in a romanticized manner. He does not, however, delude himself about Gatsby's connections to the New York mob as well as realizing the foolishness of Gatsby's infatuation for Daisy.  While Scout is objective, too, she. also interprets some events in the first part subjectively.

 

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