In The Great Gatsby, what quality does Nick possess that he thinks makes him different?

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Margarete Abshire eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The other answers for this question do a great job describing Nick. I agree that Nick is an observer, though not an impartial or dispassionate one. Part of what makes Nick a great character is that, while he observes what is going on around him, he is not always so good at observing what is going on inside him. It is true that he thinks of himself as "honest" and "non-judgemental," and I suppose compared to the likes of Tom he is. However, it's not clear from the novel whether he fully understands, say, his attraction to Jordan (beyond musing about the perspiration on her lip when she plays tennis) or his common feeling with Gatsby. By this I mean that what sets Nick apart as a narrator is his empathy for the other characters. He is watching, but he is also feeling. While he can observe with clear eyes what happens to Gatsby and Tom and Daisy, it is also clear that he is not separate from their fates, nor is he exempt from whatever forces may be at work to bring people together or tear them apart.  

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Baby Gorczany eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are two significant statements that Nick makes in the novel that, according to him, define his character and make him different. The first is in chapter one where he declares:

"I’m inclined to reserve all judgments..."

It is therefore painfully ironic that we find, however, that throughout the novel Nick does make unreserved judgments. When he, for example, describes Tom Buchanan, he uses phrases such as, "Tom would drift on forever seeking", "Two shining arrogant eyes", "gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward", "a cruel body", " ... the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it." 

In a similar vein, he describes Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, the guests at Jay Gatsby's...

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angelacress eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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nancy-robinson | Student

He's one of the most honest people he knows.

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