In Chapter Five of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby offers Nick a job. He is especially curious about Nick's financial affairs, and as Nick is setting up this secret rendezvous with Daisy under the guise of afternoon tea, it seems he is offering the work to Nick to show his appreciation.
“Why, I thought — why, look here, old sport, you don’t make much money, do you?”
“Not very much.”
This seemed to reassure him and he continued more confidently.
“I thought you didn’t, if you’ll pardon my — You see, I carry on a little business on the side, a sort of side line, you understand. And I thought that if you don’t make very much — You’re selling bonds, aren’t you, old sport?”
“Well, this would interest you. It wouldn’t take up much of your time and you might pick up a nice bit of money. It happens to be a rather confidential sort of thing.”
Nick feels that it is a course of conversation best not pursued further, so he demurs, stating that he has too much work to do already, though he notes his appreciation for the offer.
In terms of Gatsby's business affairs, and the manner in which he has acquired his wealth, we learn:
Inherent in this dream, however, was the possibility of giving in to temptation and to corrupt get-rich-quick schemes like bootlegging and gambling.
In his offer, Gatsby mentions Wolfsheim, insisting that Meyer has no part in the opportunity he has mentioned to Nick:
“You wouldn’t have to do any business with Wolfsheim.” Evidently he thought that I was shying away from the “gonnegtion” mentioned at lunch, but I assured him he was wrong.
This is something that would concern Nick as...
Meyer Wolfsheim's enterprising ways to make money are criminal...
Nick, coming from the Midwest, is relatively innocent of the new circle of people in which he finds himself. His honesty and integrity color our perceptions regarding the characters in the story. Nick is the diving-rod that guides the reader in terms of characters who can be trusted and those who have few moral standards:
Nick is the moral center of the book.
Nick is a man who tries not to judge; he is humble in seeing how fortunate he has been, and understands that people can be very different. By following Nick, we get a clearer sense of who has an ethical base and who does not. Gatsby has not always had a sterling character, and even now all he does is for Daisy's approval. Nick is comfortable enough to be satisfied with what he has and who he is, and remains distant in terms of becoming involved with Gatsby in any of his "business ventures."