In The Great Gatsby, Nick thinks he's one of the few honest people he knows. Why?

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Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Nick is honest and he prides himself on this attribute. He comes from the Midwest and honors the simplicity and honesty that is (sometimes stereotypically) characteristic of small town America.

The book begins with Nick’s description of his father’s advice about honesty and objectivity. His father warned him about criticizing others who have not had the advantages he has enjoyed. These advantages are not jus monetary. He is referring to being born into a family and society that stressed honesty. Consequently, Nick says that “I’m inclined to reserve all judgments” (1). From the very beginning of the book, the narrator declares that he is as honest and objective as he can be. There are limits to his objectivity, but the first few paragraphs of the novel definitely establish Nick as an honest guy and a reliable narrator.

Within the context of the novel, Nick stands out because he is surrounded by dishonest people. So, Nick thinks he’s one of the few honest people, because beyond the world of small towns, he has found few honest people.

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favoritethings eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Nick thinks he's one of the few honest people he knows because literally no one else around him is honest! He calls Jordan an "incurable liar"—though he claims that most women are liars (and, in the book, this too seems true). Tom Buchanan is a huge liar, cheating on his wife with a string of women; he took vows in marriage upon which he has most certainly reneged. Daisy Buchanan is also a liar, pretending for all society that she is happy and blithe, when, really, she is cynical and unhappy. Myrtle Wilson is also a liar, cheating on her poor husband, George, with Tom, and breaking her marriage vows. When Nick meets her sister, that sister also tells lies about Daisy and Tom. Even Gatsby is a liar, fabricating stories about his past life and keeping his current occupation secret because it is illegal. Nick really is one of the very few honest characters in the novel, next to George Wilson and Gatsby's father.

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