Nick explains very early on in the text why he feels that Jay Gatsby is, in fact, "great." Because Nick is a first-person objective narrator—meaning that he is a participant in the story and that he is narrating after the events of the story have taken place—he knows, even before the narrative begins, how the story will end. Of Gatsby, he says,
If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.
Nick judges most of the people he comes into contact with in New York pretty harshly. He eventually comes to the conclusion, for example, that Tom and Daisy are "careless people" who do whatever they want and then retreat back into their money, avoiding responsibility. This is not so with Gatsby. Gatsby seemed to him to be more sensitive, more alive and minutely calibrated to respond to...
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