How does Nick perceive Gatsby in "The Great Gatsby?" And how is Gatsby 'great?'
This, of course, makes, Nick an unreliable narrator. Remember, the entire novel is told in flashback from Nick's home in the Midwest. Nick takes this opportunity to spin his tale in a certain light: one that makes him look more honest than he certainly is. He claims objectivity and restrained judgement, but the novel as a whole speaks otherwise: he is as subjective and judgmental about Gatsby as Tom is about the white race.
Nick virtually equates himself with Gatsby: they are tied at the hip. Critics have read the novel in a homosexual perspective; I see it more as a Jesus / Nicodemus relationship. Gatsby is the "Son of God" to Nick's converted follower. Just at Jesus invited the Pharisee to seek rebirth in baptism, so too does Gatsby elicit Nick's re-conception of the American Dream. In short, Gatsby's romantic ideal of himself has rubbed off on Nick by the end of the novel to the point of cult hero worship. Gatsby is Nick's Byronic Hero. Gatsby's desires are so focused that Nick becomes jealous of them, to the point that they share the same desire: Daisy. Nick is complicit with Gatsby in trying to attain her.
Gatsby's excessive desires and beliefs in the American Dream are what make him great...and what lead to his tragedy. Only in America can one re-invent oneself the way Gatsby does, and this fascinates Nick. Nick sympathizes with the proletariat working-class, and he respects Gatsby for having leaped across to the bourgeoisie and still kept his boyish, humble ideals.
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