Nick believes he is an honest, nonjudgmental narrator. Discuss the reliability of Nick Carraway as the narrator of The Great Gatsby.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Nick is not a reliable narrator despite his protestations that honesty is his "cardinal" virtue. He states:

I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.

Fitzgerald clearly wants us to see this as an unintentionally ironic statement on Nick's part that shows his self-blindness. In fact, not two lines before, Nick had been explaining to us how he was not being honest with the girl back home:

I'd been writing letters once a week and signing them: "Love, Nick," and all I could think of was how, when that certain girl played tennis, a faint mustache of perspiration appeared on her upper lip.

In other words, he has been dishonestly signing "love" in letters to a young woman back home who, in fact, leaves him with a faint distaste: he doesn't love her at all. When he says earlier in the same chapter that Jordan is "incurably dishonest," that might be true, but it also might represent a projection of his own character flaw onto another person.

It is a truism in literature that when a person...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 643 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team