How does Nick describe Gatsby in Chapter 1?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Nick begins the chapter by saying he tries not to judge people. However, he adds that this honest and tolerant approach does have its limitations. When he returns to the Midwest, he says he longed for the world to be in a united "moral attention." (He says this in hindsight. He returns to the Midwest, his home, after all of the events during his stay in New York.)

Nick means that he had experienced a lack of morality while in New York. The only one from that immoral world to whom Nick gives the benefit of the doubt is Gatsby. Nick adds that Gatsby was alright. It was that immoral world which "preyed upon Gatsby" that made Nick want to return to his Midwestern roots. 

Nick says that "there was something gorgeous about him." Nick admires Gatsby's romanticism and idealism. He has scorn for the world that preyed upon Gatsby's hope and idealism. Nick had been very taken with Gatsby. He gives him high praise, saying: 

. . . it was 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. 

Gatsby's determination to pursue a dream proves his romantic idealism and hope. It makes sense that, in this immoral world, the idealistic Gatsby stood out to Nick. 


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