Chapter 1: What do you know about Nick Carraway's history, attitides and personality?The other part of the question asks to relate his history, attitudes and personality to how you think...

Chapter 1: What do you know about Nick Carraway's history, attitides and personality?

The other part of the question asks to relate his history, attitudes and personality to how you think Midwesterners might be different than people who live on the east coast or are there no differences.

Asked on by baller79

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dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Your question concerning Nick's personality as revealed in chapter one of The Great Gatsby asks for far too much information than can be given by one person in this format.  I suggest you make it a question on the discussion board.  I'll just answer one part of your question for just the first two pages of chapter one, and my answer will still be complex.

Readers sometimes miss the subtle idea Nick presents to open the novel.  When he writes about how his father taught him to always reserve judgment against other people because "all the people in this world haven't had all the advantages that you've had," Nick and his father are actually making a judgment.  Their family is, this suggests, superior to others.  Telling oneself to reserve judgment on others because they don't have the advantages that you had is placing yourself above others.  (Being from the Midwest, by the way, I can tell you that that is very midwestern.)

We learn on page two that Nick hates everything Gatsby stood for:  high society, gangsters, illegal trade, the superficial.  Gatsby himself may not fit that profile, but that's what he stands for.

Finally, though, we learn what Nick prizes so much about Gatsby:

...an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again....

Whatever else the novel is, it is a love story.  And Nick is the one who tells us about it.

 

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There is a lot you can learn about Nick Carraway from this chapter. I'll give you what I can think of off the top of my head.

First of all, we know he's from the Midwest.  We know that his family is pretty well to do and has lived in the same place for at least three generations.  They've gotten to be rich enough that Nick could go to Yale.

Personally, he seems like pretty steady, serious man.  He's going to try to improve himself by reading a lot now that he has the time.  He chooses to live out in the country when you might expect a young man like that to want to live in the city with its nightlife.

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