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In The Great Gatsby, why did Nick Carraway go to the East?

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jenncee09 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 14, 2012 at 11:44 PM via web

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In The Great Gatsby, why did Nick Carraway go to the East?

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tmcquade | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted April 15, 2012 at 1:27 AM (Answer #1)

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As Nick explains in chapter one, he moved East in order to start a new job and to experience a new llifestyle.  He had grown up in the Midwest, and he felt ready for a change.  A big cause of his feeling a need for a change was the fact that he had just returned from fighting in World War I.  As he explains:

I graduated from New Haven in 1915, just a quarter of a century after my father, and a little later I participated in that delayed Teutonic migration known as the Great War. I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came back restless. Instead of being the warm centre of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe — so I decided to go East and learn the bond business.

Though his parents are not especially happy with his decision, his father agrees to finance him for a year.  This income, of course, is in addition to anything he can earn at his work.  As to why he chooses this particular type of work, he says:

Everybody I knew was in the bond business, so I supposed it could support one more single man.

Nick initially planned to live in New York City close to work, but "when a young man at the office suggested that (they) take a house together in a commuting town, it sounded like a great idea."  In this way, he ends up living next to Gatsby in West Egg.  The other man, however, ends up taking a job elsewhere, so Nick lives in his bungalow alone.

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