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by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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What Is Nick's Attitude Toward Gatsby

In chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby, what is Nick's attitude towards Gatsby?

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Carter Westfall eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At the beginning of the chapter, Nick expresses his concern and care for Gatsby. He noticed that the parties had ended and those who visited, stayed briefly in his driveway and left. He then went over to enquire:

"Wondering if he were sick I went over to find out."

Later in the day, when Tom questions Jay about his being at Oxford, Nick expresses his admiration for the manner in which he manages Tom's cynical inquisition. Nick mentions that the verbal altercation renewed his faith in Gatsby. He trusted that Gatsby could manage whatever negative idea Tom wished to create of him.

"I wanted to get up and slap him on the back. I had one of those renewals of complete faith in him that I’d experienced before."

Nick further expresses admiration for Jay's initial calm demeanour during his verbal altercation with Tom. Tom obviously loses control, whilst Jay remains polite and is "content". Even when Tom hurls accusations of criminal activity at Jay, he remains calm.

Nick later expresses pity for Jay when he sees how he reacts to Daisy telling him that she "loved him too" and further that, "you want too much!" Jay is clearly hurt and confused. Even so, he remains calm.

Tom's relentless pursuit does affect Jay eventually and Nick notices that he looked:

'as if he had “killed a man.”'

Nick's thoughts make it clear that he feels sorry for Jay when he attempts to explain all Tom's accusations to Daisy, denying everything. Nick states that:

"But with every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so he gave that up, and only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undespairingly, toward that lost voice across the room."

At the end of the chapter, after the accident which killed Myrtle, Nick finds Jay outside the Buchanan home, "just standing there". Nick finds this despicable. When jay tells him that they had parked his car in his garage and that nobody had seen them, Nick's thinking is:

"I disliked him so much by this time that I didn’t find it necessary to tell him he was wrong."

He is, at this point disgusted by Gatsby and what he had done. Nick however, remains loyal to his friend, going so far as to establish what Tom and Daisy were up to and reporting back to Jay. He recommends that Jay leave and go to bed, but he insists on staying. Nick then leaves.  

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Reuben Lindsey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Nick honestly likes Gatsby.  In this chapter, he just feels loyalty to him and concern for him.  He wants Gatsby to be vindicated, he wants Gatsby to achieve his dream - and then, after the accident, he wants to help Gatsby come to terms with Daisy's unworthiness.  For Nick does at this point believe that Daisy does not deserve Gatsby.  Nick's last comment proves this:

So I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight—watching over nothing.

Nick is allowing Gatsby to watch over Daisy, but knows that there is nothing left there for this friend of his.

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