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Why is Nick Carraway made the narrator of "The Great Gatsby"?

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luis18 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 6, 2009 at 10:34 PM via web

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Why is Nick Carraway made the narrator of "The Great Gatsby"?

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

Posted January 6, 2009 at 11:12 PM (Answer #1)

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Nick Carroway is a good and logical choice for a narrator because, although the character tells the story in first person, he is able to tell us the story of Gatsby and Daisy (and others) from an objective third person point of view.  Though he is involved in the events, he is really set on the outside of everything as a onlooker and observer.

Additionally, Nick's opening lines tell us that he will be a good, neutral and objective narrator. He informs the reader about his father's advice to him: "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone... just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had" (Fitzgerald 6). He then goes on to say, "In consequence I'm inclined to reserve all judgement" (6).  Therefore, we can assume that Nick truly does restrain from passing judgement and is more inclined to give us an open and objective viewpoint for the story.  We are then able to observe the events through his eyes, without any emotional filter that Gatsby's or Daisy's story may include in the retelling of events.

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udonbutterfly | TA , College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted August 15, 2014 at 5:03 PM (Answer #2)

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In my opinion Nick is meant to be the objective voice in the book, to look at everyone in an objective way but he judges people from time to time. Imagine if the story was from Daisy's perspective I don't think the story would have been delivered properly.  OR imagine if the story was actually by Gatsby I don't think the story would've been named The Great Gatsby, it would show too much pretentiousness in Gatsby if it were named so. Also the mystery around Gatsby would become nonexistent.

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taangerine | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted August 16, 2014 at 2:20 AM (Answer #3)

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Nick Carraway was made the narrator the of the Great Gatsby because he was not physically involved in many of the incidents. He therefore had a neutral understanding and view of how things were played out in the story. 

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